Web Searching and Navigation: Age, Intelligence, and Familiarity

Raffaella Nori, Massimiliano Palmiero, Fiorella Giusberti, Elisa Gambetti, Laura Piccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In using the Internet to solve everyday problems, older adults tend to find fewer correct answers compared to younger adults. Some authors have argued that these differences could be explained by age-related decline. The present study aimed to analyze the relationship between web-searching navigation and usersʼ age, considering the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and frequency of Internet and personal computer use. The intent was to identify differences due to age and not to other variables (that is, cognitive decline, expertise with the tool). Eighteen students (18–30 years) and 18 older adults (60–75 years) took part in the experiment. Inclusion criteria were the frequent use of computers and a web-searching activity; the older adults performed the Mini-Mental State Examination to exclude cognitive impairment. Participants were requested to perform the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test 2nd ed. to measure their IQ level, and nine everyday web-searching tasks of differing complexity. The results showed that older participants spent more time on solving tasks than younger participants, but with the same accuracy as young people. Furthermore, nonverbal IQ improved performance in terms of time among the older participants. Age did not influence web-searching behavior in users with normal expertise and intelligence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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