Quantifying the Impact of Cognitive Biases in Question-Answering Systems

TitleQuantifying the Impact of Cognitive Biases in Question-Answering Systems
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsK. Burghardt, T. Hogg, and K. Lerman
Conference NameProceedings of the 12th International AAAI Conference On Web And Social Media (ICWSM2018)

Crowdsourcing can identify high-quality solutions to problems; however, individual decisions are constrained by cognitive biases.We investigate some of these biases in an experimental model of a question-answering system. We observe a strong position bias in favor of answers appearing earlier in a list of choices. This effect is enhanced by three cognitive factors: the attention an answer receives, its perceived popularity, and cognitive load, measured by the number of choices a user has to process. While separately weak, these effects synergistically amplify position bias and decouple user choices of best answers from their intrinsic quality. We end our paper by discussing the novel ways we can apply these findings to substantially improve how high-quality answers are found in question-answering systems.