Spelling errors and shouting capitalization lead to additive penalties to trustworthiness of online health information: Randomized experiment with laypersons

Authors: Witchel, H., Thompson, G., Jones, C., Westling, C., Romero, J., Nicotra, A., Maag, B. and Critchley, H.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33898/

https://www.jmir.org/

Journal: JMIR

Publisher: JMIR Publications

ISSN: 1438-8871

BACKGROUND. The written format and literacy competence of screen-based texts can interfere with the perceived trustworthiness of health information in online forums, independent of the semantic content. Unlike in professional content, the format in unmoderated forums can regularly hint at 'incivility', perceived as deliberate rudeness or casual disregard towards the reader, e.g. through spelling errors and unnecessary emphatic capitalization of whole words (online 'shouting'). OBJECTIVE. To quantify the comparative effects of spelling errors and inappropriate capitalization on ratings of trustworthiness independently of lay insight, and to determine whether these changes act either synergistically or additively on the ratings. METHODS. In online experiments, 301 UK-recruited participants rated thirty-six randomised stimulus paragraphs in the format of information from an unmoderated health forum (about multiple sclerosis) for trustworthiness using a semantic differential slider. Nine control paragraphs were compared to error-containing paragraphs including 5 instances of misspelling, 5 instances of inappropriate capitalization (‘shouting’), or a combination of the two. Data were analysed in a Linear Mixed Effects model. RESULTS. The mean trustworthiness ratings of the control paragraphs ranged from 32.59 to 62.31 (rating scale 0-100). Compared to the control paragraphs, paragraphs containing only misspellings were rated as being 8.86 points less trustworthy, inappropriate capitalization was 6.41 less, and the combination of misspelling and capitalization was 14.33 less. Misspelling and inappropriate capitalization show an additive effect (P < .05 for all). CONCLUSIONS. Distinct indicators of incivility independently and additively penalize perceived trustworthiness of online text independently of lay insight, eliciting a medium effect size.

This data was imported from PubMed:

Authors: Witchel, H.J., Thompson, G.A., Jones, C.I., Westling, C.E.I., Romero, J., Nicotra, A., Maag, B. and Critchley, H.D.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33898/

Journal: J Med Internet Res

Volume: 22

Issue: 6

Pages: e15171

eISSN: 1438-8871

DOI: 10.2196/15171

BACKGROUND: The written format and literacy competence of screen-based texts can interfere with the perceived trustworthiness of health information in online forums, independent of the semantic content. Unlike in professional content, the format in unmoderated forums can regularly hint at incivility, perceived as deliberate rudeness or casual disregard toward the reader, for example, through spelling errors and unnecessary emphatic capitalization of whole words (online shouting). OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to quantify the comparative effects of spelling errors and inappropriate capitalization on ratings of trustworthiness independently of lay insight and to determine whether these changes act synergistically or additively on the ratings. METHODS: In web-based experiments, 301 UK-recruited participants rated 36 randomized short stimulus excerpts (in the format of information from an unmoderated health forum about multiple sclerosis) for trustworthiness using a semantic differential slider. A total of 9 control excerpts were compared with matching error-containing excerpts. Each matching error-containing excerpt included 5 instances of misspelling, or 5 instances of inappropriate capitalization (shouting), or a combination of 5 misspelling plus 5 inappropriate capitalization errors. Data were analyzed in a linear mixed effects model. RESULTS: The mean trustworthiness ratings of the control excerpts ranged from 32.59 to 62.31 (rating scale 0-100). Compared with the control excerpts, excerpts containing only misspellings were rated as being 8.86 points less trustworthy, those containing inappropriate capitalization were rated as 6.41 points less trustworthy, and those containing the combination of misspelling and capitalization were rated as 14.33 points less trustworthy (P<.001 for all). Misspelling and inappropriate capitalization show an additive effect. CONCLUSIONS: Distinct indicators of incivility independently and additively penalize the perceived trustworthiness of online text independently of lay insight, eliciting a medium effect size.

This data was imported from Scopus:

Authors: Witchel, H.J., Thompson, G.A., Jones, C.I., Westling, C.E.I., Romero, J., Nicotra, A., Maag, B. and Critchley, H.D.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33898/

Journal: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Volume: 22

Issue: 6

eISSN: 1438-8871

DOI: 10.2196/15171

© 2020 Journal of Medical Internet Research. All rights reserved. Background: The written format and literacy competence of screen-based texts can interfere with the perceived trustworthiness of health information in online forums, independent of the semantic content. Unlike in professional content, the format in unmoderated forums can regularly hint at incivility, perceived as deliberate rudeness or casual disregard toward the reader, for example, through spelling errors and unnecessary emphatic capitalization of whole words (online shouting). Objective: This study aimed to quantify the comparative effects of spelling errors and inappropriate capitalization on ratings of trustworthiness independently of lay insight and to determine whether these changes act synergistically or additively on the ratings. Methods: In web-based experiments, 301 UK-recruited participants rated 36 randomized short stimulus excerpts (in the format of information from an unmoderated health forum about multiple sclerosis) for trustworthiness using a semantic differential slider. A total of 9 control excerpts were compared with matching error-containing excerpts. Each matching error-containing excerpt included 5 instances of misspelling, or 5 instances of inappropriate capitalization (shouting), or a combination of 5 misspelling plus 5 inappropriate capitalization errors. Data were analyzed in a linear mixed effects model. Results: The mean trustworthiness ratings of the control excerpts ranged from 32.59 to 62.31 (rating scale 0-100). Compared with the control excerpts, excerpts containing only misspellings were rated as being 8.86 points less trustworthy, those containing inappropriate capitalization were rated as 6.41 points less trustworthy, and those containing the combination of misspelling and capitalization were rated as 14.33 points less trustworthy (P<.001 for all). Misspelling and inappropriate capitalization show an additive effect. Conclusions: Distinct indicators of incivility independently and additively penalize the perceived trustworthiness of online text independently of lay insight, eliciting a medium effect size.

This data was imported from Web of Science (Lite):

Authors: Witchel, H.J., Thompson, G.A., Jones, C.I., Westling, C.E.I., Romero, J., Nicotra, A., Maag, B. and Critchley, H.D.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33898/

Journal: JOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH

Volume: 22

Issue: 6

ISSN: 1438-8871

DOI: 10.2196/15171

The data on this page was last updated at 05:27 on January 25, 2021.