Recent neuroscience research demonstrates that individuals born after 1980 (technologically structured individuals (TSI)) differ in brain structure from individuals born before 1980 (non‐technologically structured individuals (NTSI), due to intense technology exposure from early ages. This preliminary research seeks to view persuasion through the lens of neuroscience and to apply the concepts to persuasive technology, specifically persuasive technology that can leverage the resurgent interest in library use by younger generations.
A descriptive, correlative, quantitative study is used to explore how TSIs and NTSIs differ in their perceptions of libraries and in their responses to persuasive stimuli that might be employed to engage them in increased library use. An online survey was administered to a sample of 310 internet users between the ages of 18‐70.
The study found that there are small but important differences in TSI and NTSI perceptions of libraries and librarians. Additionally, three factors emerge about TSIs that are relevant to persuasion and persuasive technology: TSIs are rapid cycle processors of audio and visual stimulus; TSIs perceive and utilize time differently than NTSIs; and immediacy is the norm for TSIs.
Library users who do not use computers or the internet were excluded.
As librarians take responsibility for promoting library resources and their own expertise, they may find their role moving from information providers to mentors who empower library users as independent researchers. Currently a quiet place for research, the future library may become an interactive learning environment. Persuasive technology designers must consider the unique characteristics of TSIs in order to implement effective persuasive techniques.
This study is original in applying the neuroscience lens to persuasion, and specifically to persuasion related to library users and improved engagement and library use.
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