The role of skepticism in human-information behavior: a cognitive-affective analysis Public

Even a cursory review of social science literature reveals a wealth of research into the role that skepticism plays in the forms of information behavior studied within communication, consumer psychology, education, journalism and media studies, and public policy, to name only a handful of disciplines. In much of this research, the effects of skepticism are found to be far-reaching, yet skepticism has not been studied to a great extent within the body of human-information behavior research. Defining skepticism is a considerable task given its relative absence in information science literature; therefore, this paper gives significant attention to defining skepticism and discussing its dimensions. This paper establishes skepticism as a factor to be considered in cognitive-affective models of human-information behavior via a large-scale overview of social science research, and shows that a rational form of skepticism is a healthy trait to cultivate among information-seekers, emphasizing the important role that librarians play in this process.

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