How the expertise heuristic accelerates decision-making and credibility judgments in social media by means of effort reduction
Real-time communication, unlimited distribution of information, and the lack of editorial supervision in social media communication aggravate recipients' credibility evaluations and information selection by what aspects of the source such as expertise have emerged as important anchors for evaluations. It has long been assumed that credibility judgments in social media are specifically guided by heuristics. However, the existing studies merely give indications, for example, based on individuals self-report but do not test whether important attributes and prerequisites of heuristic decision-making, such as effort reduction, are present. Against this background, the current study (N = 185) analyses by applying a reduced two-alternative choice paradigm whether the relation between the expertise cue and credibility judgments and the choice of information sources is guided by a heuristic, namely the expertise heuristic. Findings indicate that the presence of the expertise cue reduced respondents' task latencies significantly, although participants' decision behavior was not independent from additional information. This is discussed in detail with recourse to theoretical conceptualizations of cognitive heuristics.