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Neuroscience in Design-Oriented Research: Exploring New Potentials

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Abstract

Design-oriented research has evolved as a major research paradigm in the academic discipline of information systems (IS) aiming at the design of innovative and useful IT artifacts such as methods, models, constructs, and instantiations. With the concept of “user-perception” at the core of this approach, it appears promising to explore the potentials of neuroscience in design-oriented research that allow for measuring physiological effects of people interfering with artifacts. In this paper, we discuss fields of application concerning both the design and evaluation of artifacts. However, we also argue that neuroscience, despite its value for design-oriented IS research, should complement rather than substitute traditional research approaches and that results require thorough interpretation. We report on a first study that triangulates quantitative and neuroscientific data in the area of enterprise resource planning systems and indicate directions for future research.

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... However, the consideration of neuroscience is still in its infancy in IS design science research. A limited number of contributions have alluded to the potential of neuroscience in design science research [e.g., 42,80], but few IS design science studies have applied neuroscience theories and tools, perhaps because of a lack of conceptual support for IS researchers who wish to engage in NeuroIS design science research. ...
... In IS design science research, both software systems (which are the focus of many TAM and TAM++ studies) and conceptual models play significant roles. While the origins of conceptual modeling can be traced back to software engineering, several additional purposes of conceptual modeling are apparent in IS, among which are data modeling, knowledge modeling, business process modeling, and enterprise modeling [80]. ...
... While neuroscience thus offers a new lens through which the design of IT artifacts can be studied (in this case, the affective one), additional aspects of design should be considered as well. In particular, for each of the strategies proposed, neuroscience theories and tools should be used to complement the traditional techniques of data collection and analysis, rather than to replace them [63,80]. However, even such complementary use may not be beneficial in all situations; IS researchers who engage in this particular field of research should reflect on whether and to what extent the application of neuroscience can support the design of IT artifacts in their individual situations. ...
... A few articles provide overviews of theories and tools and discuss the potential of NeuroIS and directives for future research [10,33,45,46], and a growing number of empirical NeuroIS papers (see: www.NeuroIS.org) have raised the importance of establishing knowledge about how to conduct and evaluate NeuroIS research. ...
... Advancing the field of IS research includes contributions to behavioral and design-oriented research, both of which are addressed by NeuroIS [33]. While NeuroIS studies in behavioral research are conducted to describe, explain, and/or predict people's IT-related behavior, NeuroIS studies in design science research are conducted to further the design and evaluation of IT artifacts [46]. Prior research has identified the potential contributions of NeuroIS studies as facilitating/enhancing existing IS theories, developing new theories, facilitating system design, evaluating system design, and improving how existing constructs are measured [22]. ...
... Here, the tool selection (phase 3 and guideline 3) plays an important role. For instance, neurophysiological tools allow measurements to be made in a wide range of contexts and interactions in socio-technical systems, such as role-plays [46]. ...
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Neuroscience provides a new lens through which to study information systems. These studies, called NeuroIS studies, investigate the neuro-physiological effects related to the design, use, and impact of information systems. A major advantage of this new methodology is its ability to examine human behavior at the underlying neuro-physiological level, which was not possible before, and to reduce self-reporting bias in behavior research. Previous studies that have revisited important IS concepts like trust and distrust have challenged and extended our knowledge. An increasing number of neuroscience studies in IS have given researchers, editors, reviewers, and readers new challenges in terms of determining what makes a good NeuroIS study. While earlier papers focused on how to apply specific methods (e.g., fMRI, functional magnetic resonance imaging), this paper takes an IS perspective in deriving six phases for conducting NeuroIS research and offers five guidelines for planning and evaluating NeuroIS studies: to advance IS research, to apply the standards of neuroscience, to justify the choice of a neuroscience strategy of inquiry, to map IS concepts to bio-data, and to relate the experimental setting to IS-authentic situations. The guidelines provide guidance for authors, reviewers and readers of NeuroIS studies, and, thus, help to capitalize on the potential of neuroscience in IS research.
... In relation to this, Dimoka et al. (2007, p. 2) suggested in one of the first publications on this concern: "By directly asking the brain, not the person, neuroimaging techniques allow an objective, reliable and unbiased measurement of thoughts, beliefs, and feelings and link them to specific human processes (e.g., decisions, choices, and behavior)". Nevertheless, the plain use of neuroscientific measurement techniques will undoubtedly not be enough (Vom Brocke et al. 2011). ...
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Information systems (IS) community is increasingly interested in employing neuroscience tools and methods in order to develop new theories concerning Human–computer interaction (HCI) and further understand IS acceptance models. The new field of NeuroIS has been introduced to address these issues. NeuroIS researchers have proposed encephalography (EEG), among other neuroscience instruments, as a valuable usability metric, when used effectively in appropriately designed experiments. Moreover, numerous researchers have suggested that EEG frontal asymmetry may serve as an important metric of user experience. Based on the aforementioned evidence, this study aims to integrate frontal asymmetry with Technology acceptance model (TAM). Particularly, we assumed that frontal asymmetry might predict users’ perceptions regarding Usefulness and Ease of Use. Furthermore, we hypothesized that frontal asymmetry might also affect (influence) users’ Perceived Playfulness. Specifically, 82 (43 females and 39 males) undergraduate students were chosen to use a Computer-Based Assessment (while being connected to the EEG) in the context of an introductory informatics course. Results confirmed our hypothesis as well as points of theory about Information technology (IT) acceptance variables. This is one of the first studies to suggest that frontal asymmetry could serve as a valuable tool for examining IT acceptance constructs and better understanding HCI.
... And especially in IS design science, for which human cognitive perceptions and decision making play a critical role, neuroscience provides great potential in contributing to the enhancement of IS design science methodology. The intersection between NeuroIS and IS design science has been investigated extensively since 2010[32][33][34][35]. In this paper, we adopt[29]'s NeuroIS Design Science Model to illustrate the neural foundation for IS design science. ...
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Research provides increasing evidence that women and men differ in their decisions to trust. However, information systems research does not satisfactorily explain why these gender differences exist. One possible reason is that, surprisingly, theoretical concepts often do not address the most obvious factor that influences human behavior: biology. Given the essential role of biological factors-and specifically those of the brain-in decisions to trust, the biological influences should naturally include those related to gender. As trust considerations in economic decision making have become increasingly complex with the expansion of Internet use, understanding the related biological/brain functions and the involvement of gender provides a range of valuable insights. To show empirically that online trust is associated with activity changes in certain brain areas, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In a laboratory experiment, we captured the brain activity of 10 female and 10 male participants simultaneous to decisions on trustworthiness of eBay offers. We found that most of the brain areas that encode trustworthiness differ between women and men. Moreover, we found that women activated more brain areas than did men. These results confirm the empathizing- systemizing theory, which predicts gender differences in neural information processing modes. In demonstrating that perceived trustworthiness of Internet offers is affected by neurobiology, our study has major implications for both IS research and management. We confirm the value of a category of research heretofore neglected in IS research and practice, and argue that future IS research investigating human behavior should consider the role of biological factors. In practice, biological factors are a significant consideration for management, marketing, and engineering attempts to influence behavior.
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Design work and design knowledge in Information Systems (IS) is important for both research and practice. Yet there has been comparatively little critical attention paid to the problem of specifying design theory so that it can be communicated, justified, and developed cumulatively. In this essay we focus on the structural components or anatomy of design theories in IS as a special class of theory. In doing so, we aim to extend the work of Walls, Widemeyer and El Sawy (1992) on the specification of information systems design theories (ISDT), drawing on other streams of thought on design research and theory to provide a basis for a more systematic and useable formulation of these theories. We identify eight separate components of design theories: (1) purpose and scope, (2) constructs, (3) principles of form and function, (4) artifact mutability, (5) testable propositions, (6) justificatory knowledge (kernel theories), (7) principles of implementation, and (8) an expository instantiation. This specification includes components missing in the Walls et al. adaptation of Dubin (1978) and Simon (1969) and also addresses explicitly problems associated with the role of instantiations and the specification of design theories for methodologies and interventions as well as for products and applications. The essay is significant as the unambiguous establishment of design knowledge as theory gives a sounder base for arguments for the rigor and legitimacy of IS as an applied discipline and for its continuing progress. A craft can proceed with the copying of one example of a design artifact by one artisan after another. A discipline cannot.
Article
Business process modelling has gained widespread acceptance as a valuable design and management technique for a variety of purposes. While there has been much research on process modelling techniques and corresponding tools, there has been little empirical research into the success factors of effective process modelling, and the post hoc evaluation of process modelling success. This paper reports on the first attempt to identify process modelling success factors and measures, as empirically evidenced in case studies of nine process modelling projects in three leading Australian organizations.
Article
Regional cerebral glucose metabolic rate (GMR) quantified with positron emission tomography (PET) with 18-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (FDG) was measured twice in 8 young men performing a complex visuospatial/motor task (the computer game Tetris), before and after practice. After 4-8 weeks of daily practice on Tetris, GMR in cortical surface regions decreased despite a more than 7-fold increase in performance. Subjects who improved their Tetris performance the most after practice showed the largest glucose metabolic decreases after practice in several areas. These results suggest that learning may result in decreased use of extraneous or inefficient brain areas. Changes in regional subcortical glucose metabolic rate with practice may reflect changes in cognitive strategy that are a part of the learning process.
Article
Administered a questionnaire containing items of varied content believed to be related to hypnotizability to 481 female undergraduates. 2 subsamples of 142 and 171 Ss, respectively, also completed Block's Ego Resiliency and Ego Control questionnaire scales and the Group Scales of Hypnotic Susceptibility. Analysis of the combined questionnaire data yielded 3 replicated higher order factors: the familiar dimensions of Stability and Introversion and a 3rd factor, Absorption. Absorption is interpreted as a disposition for having episodes of "total" attention that fully engage one's representational (i.e., perceptual, enactive, imaginative, and ideational) resources. This kind of attentional functioning is believed to result in a heightened sense of the reality of the attentional object, imperviousness to distracting events, and an altered sense of reality in general, including an empathically altered sense of self. Only Absorption was consistently correlated with hypnotizability. Absorption appears to be of interest for the study of hypnosis and personality. (38 ref)
Article
A biocybernetic system has been developed as a method to evaluate automated flight deck concepts for compatibility with human capabilities. A biocybernetic loop is formed by adjusting the mode of operation of a task set (e.g., manual/automated mix) based on electroencephalographic (EEG) signals reflecting an operator's engagement in the task set. A critical issue for the loop operation is the selection of features of the EEG to provide an index of engagement upon which to base decisions to adjust task mode. Subjects were run in the closed-loop feedback configuration under four candidate and three experimental control definitions of an engagement index. The temporal patterning of system mode switching was observed for both positive and negative feedback of the index. The indices were judged on the basis of their relative strength in exhibiting expected feedback control system phenomena (stable operation under negative feedback and unstable operation under positive feedback). Of the candidate indices evaluated in this study, an index constructed according to the formula, beta power/(alpha power + theta power), reflected task engagement best.
Article
A system was evaluated for use in adaptive automation using two experiments with electroencephalogram (EEG) indices based on the beta, alpha, and theta bandwidths. Subjects performed a compensatory tracking task while their EEG was recorded and converted to one of three engagement indices: beta/(alpha + theta), beta/alpha, or 1/alpha. In experiment one, the tracking task was switched between manual and automatic modes depending on whether the subject's engagement index was increasing or decreasing under a positive or negative feedback condition. Subjects were run for three consecutive 16-min trials. In experiment two, the task was switched depending on whether the absolute level of the engagement index for the subject was above or below baseline levels. It was hypothesized that negative feedback would produce more switches between manual and automatic modes, and that the beta/(alpha + theta) index would be most effective. The results confirmed these hypotheses. Tracking performance was better under negative feedback in both experiments; also, the use of absolute levels of engagement in experiment two resulted in better performance. There were no systematic changes in these effects over three 16-min trials. The implications for the use of such systems for adaptive automation are discussed.
Article
The performance of an adaptive automation system was evaluated using a cognitive vigilance task. Participants responded to the presence of a green "K" in an array of two, five, or nine distractor stimuli during a 40-min vigil. The array with the target stimulus was presented once each minute. Participants EEG was recorded and an engagement index (EI = 20 x beta/(alpha + theta)) was derived. In the negative feedback condition, increases in the EI caused the number of stimuli in the array to decrease while decreases in the EI caused the number of stimuli to increase. For the positive feedback condition, increases in the index caused an increase in the array size (AS) while decreases caused a decrease in the array size. Each experimental participant had a yoked control partner who received the same pattern of changes in array irrespective of their engagement index. A vigilance decrement was seen only for the positive feedback, experimental group.
Article
One hypothesis concerning the human dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is that it functions, in part, to signal the occurrence of conflicts in information processing, thereby triggering compensatory adjustments in cognitive control. Since this idea was first proposed, a great deal of relevant empirical evidence has accrued. This evidence has largely corroborated the conflict-monitoring hypothesis, and some very recent work has provided striking new support for the theory. At the same time, other findings have posed specific challenges, especially concerning the way the theory addresses the processing of errors. Recent research has also begun to shed light on the larger function of the ACC, suggesting some new possibilities concerning how conflict monitoring might fit into the cingulate's overall role in cognition and action.
Article
This article outlines a framework of creativity based on functional neuroanatomy. Recent advances in the field of cognitive neuroscience have identified distinct brain circuits that are involved in specific higher brain functions. To date, these findings have not been applied to research on creativity. It is proposed that there are four basic types of creative insights, each mediated by a distinctive neural circuit. By definition, creative insights occur in consciousness. Given the view that the working memory buffer of the prefrontal cortex holds the content of consciousness, each of the four distinctive neural loops terminates there. When creativity is the result of deliberate control, as opposed to spontaneous generation, the prefrontal cortex also instigates the creative process. Both processing modes, deliberate and spontaneous, can guide neural computation in structures that contribute emotional content and in structures that provide cognitive analysis, yielding the four basic types of creativity. Supportive evidence from psychological, cognitive, and neuroscientific studies is presented and integrated in this article. The new theoretical framework systematizes the interaction between knowledge and creative thinking, and how the nature of this relationship changes as a function of domain and age. Implications for the arts and sciences are briefly discussed.
Article
Although organizational research has made tremendous strides in the last century, recent advances in neuroscience and the imaging of functional brain activity remain underused. In fact, even the use of well-established psychophysiological measurement tools is comparatively rare. Following the lead of social cognitive neuroscience, in this review, we conceptualize organizational cognitive neuroscience as a field dedicated to exploring the processes within the brain that underlie or influence human decisions, behaviors, and interactions either (a) within organizations or (b) in response to organizational manifestations or institutions. We discuss organizational cognitive neuroscience, bringing together work that may previously have been characterized rather atomistically, and provide a brief overview of individual methods that may be of use. Subsequently, we discuss the possible convergence and integration of the different neuroimaging and psychophysiological measurement modalities. A brief review of prior work in the field shows a significant need for a more coherent and theory-driven approach to organizational cognitive neuroscience. In response, we discuss a recent example of such work, along with three hypothetical case studies that exemplify the link between organizational and psychological theory and neuroscientific methods.
Article
An overview of knowledge engineering research, practice, theories, methodologies, and tools is presented, and parallels are drawn with analogous phenomena and activities in requirements engineering. Knowledge based systems are distinguished from other advanced information systems by their reflective emphasis on meta information processing about the basis of system operation. In terms of requirements elicitation, this corresponds to an emphasis on maintaining an audit trail from requirements through design, implementation, use and maintenance that supports continuing user involvement in system specification, design and evolution. Examples of knowledge elicitation methodologies and tools are provided, and it is suggested that they all have some applicability in requirements elicitation for advanced information system development. It is concluded that closer collaboration between the knowledge engineering and requirements engineering communities will be mutually beneficial
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