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Thinking style, browsing primes and hypermedia navigation

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Computers & Education Volume 49, Number 3, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


There is a common assumption that hypermedia navigation is influenced by a learner’s style of thinking, so people who are inclined to apply sequential and analytical strategies (left-thinkers) are thought to browse hypermedia in a linear way, whereas those who prefer holistic and intuitive strategies (right-thinkers) tend towards non-linear paths. An experiment was conducted to study both the effects of students’ style of thinking on hypermedia navigation and the effects of primes aimed at inducing them to browse the hypermedia according to a given strategy. Two hundred undergraduates in different faculties were asked to visit a website. Navigation was preceded by some initial tasks (primes) that activated either the left- or the right-thinking style; 50 men and 50 women were randomly assigned to each of the two kinds of primes. Then participants were free to browse the hypermedia and navigational paths were tracked down. When navigation had been completed, a questionnaire measuring a preference for either the left- or the right-thinking style was filled out by participants. Analyses showed that primes influenced hypermedia navigation, leading participants to apply strategies consistent with the initial tasks. The participants’ age and faculty did not influence their behaviour in navigation. Gender and frequency of computer use determined some minor differences in hypermedia browsing, whereas there was no evidence of any relationship between thinking style and behaviour in navigation.


Fiorina, L., Antonietti, A., Colombo, B. & Bartolomeo, A. (2007). Thinking style, browsing primes and hypermedia navigation. Computers & Education, 49(3), 916-941. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved September 30, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 30, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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