Science: Sharing-Tools reduce Comprehension

Keep Calm and RetweetHochinteressantes Ergebnis einer Social-Media-Studie aus China: Die Existenz von Sharing-Tools (in der Studie die Retweet-Funktion, dürfte sich aber auch auf andere Tools wie Like-Buttons et al übertragen lassen) verringert das Verständnis des Inhalts der gesharten Items, und zwar nicht nur so ein bisschen, sondern bis zu einer Fehlerquote von unfassbaren 50% und die Verständnis-Schwierigkeiten übertragen sich auch in einem zweiten Schritt auf Offline-Inhalte. Wow! Just… wow!

Wenn man diese Studie in die aktuelle Debatte um Hatespeech und Online-Diskurs reinwirft, explodieren wahrscheinlich alle Serverfarmen der Facebooks. Das Paper gibt's leider nur gegen Geld auf Sciencedirect, aber Mike Caulfield hat ’ne gute Zusammenfassung: Retweets and Comprehension.

Roughly, the finding of the study is this: when readers have the option to retweet a message their comprehension of the message falls significantly. The researchers found that: „'repost' did not promote but hindered participants’ online information comprehension. Messages that were reposted were more likely to be understood incorrectly than correctly. This finding has overarching implications given that the majority users of micro-blogging sites only read and repost others’ messages […]“

How much more incorrectly? Students in the repost condition got *twice* as many comprehension questions wrong on the messages they read as the control group, which was presented the exact same messages, with no option to repost. […]

The study presents an even more stunning finding (and one I am still not sure I am reading correctly). People in the reposting condition, when presented an offline document after reading and reposting, still really suck at comprehension:

For the offline reading comprehension test, participants were first asked to read an article, “More than a feline: The true nature of cats,” from New Scientist. The article was translated into Chinese with a total of 2176 characters. A comprehension test was compiled based on this article, including 11 multiple-choice questions that all had excellent discrimination values in a pretest. Participants’ scores on the test (0–11) were used as the index of offline information comprehension.

The results? People in the no-reposting group did 50% better on the comprehension test, even though the test was on an offline document with no reposting option.