Abstract

Online forums sponsored by electronic networks of practice (ENPs) have become an important platform for technology-mediated knowledge exchange, yet relatively little is known about how ENP participants filter and evaluate information they encounter on these forums. This study integrates perspectives from expectation confirmation theory, prospect theory, and neuroscience research to explore how ENP forum filtering judgments are influenced when expectations formed on the basis of contextual cues are confirmed or disconfirmed by examination of solution quality. We summarize six different models of expectation confirmation explored in previous IS literature and report the results of a neuroimaging experiment using functional MRI (fMRI) that paired both positive and negative contextual cues with high- and low-quality solutions on a mock ENP forum interface. Results show that evaluation judgments are strongest in conditions where initial contextual cue judgments are confirmed by examination of solution quality except when the perceived expectation-experience gap is large, providing evidence for an assimilation-contrast model of expectation confirmation. We also find neural activation differences for expectation confirmation vs. disconfirmation and, consistent with prospect theory, differences in filtering behaviors with respect to unexpected gains vs. unexpected losses.

DOI

10.17705/1jais.00731

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