Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Committee Chair/Advisor

Gugerty, Leo

Committee Member

Pak , Richard

Committee Member

McCubbin , James


Reputation mechanisms and credibility are methods of adding additional information to forum posts, and are becoming more commonplace in online health forums. These systems provide users of forums additional information which can be used to evaluate the trustworthiness of the information being disseminated in community-run websites. The goal of the following studies is twofold. First, it is necessary to identify which elements of reputation systems and credibility participants use to make assessments of the trustworthiness, perceived credibility, and perceived accuracy of answers to health-related questions on a simulated web forum. Once the reputation mechanisms and credibility systems have been identified, the second study explored how high and low overall reputation affects decisions in a non-compensatory decision-making task. This study demonstrated a preference for a non-dominating alternative when it is associated with high reputation, and an overwhelming preference for a dominating alternative when associated with a high reputation. This study also showed that participants expressed higher levels of perceived credibility, trust, confidence, and accuracy of answers when making a decision based on reputation rather than utility.

Included in

Psychology Commons



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