Psychodynamic Perspectives in Information Behaviour

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Introduction. There are a number of theories regarding information behaviour, most of which reflect a cognitive perspective, focusing on the role of conscious thought and feeling. Despite the recent interest in emotional aspects of users in their information behaviour, the role of cognition in information behaviour is constrained and does not consider the underlying motivations and emotions that lie outside the realm of conscious awareness and thought.

Argument. There has been a shift in psychological theory, incorporating stronger psychodynamic perspectives that consider the role of the unconscious in affect daily life. It has been estimated that 85-95% of thought takes place in the unconscious outside of our awareness, including most of our decision making. This suggests a fertile theoretical ground for investigating information behaviour.

Conclusion. Psychodynamic theories offer fertile ground for investigating the interaction between information and human behaviour. If library and information science is to advance its understanding of information behaviour, it needs to include other theories and methodological tools available to us, particularly from psychology, whose aim it is to investigate human behaviour and behaviour change. Projective tests are one method that can be used in conjunction with sources and services to evaluate their usefulness.