It’s much easier to make a credible looking website than it is to make a credible looking book. So when you’re on the web, how do you evaluate the credibility of the information you’ve found? On average, it seems, not very well!
Research carried out a couple of years ago found that people use only superficial cues when making judgements about a site. In other words, if it looks professional, then it is. People are generally ‘cognitive misers’, tending not to check the credentials of the author or their motivation in making the information available. The new buzz phrase for this type of skill is ‘information literacy’.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
One immediate practical implication is that every organisation needs a professional looking website or visitors won’t take it seriously.
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