The Technology Profile Inventory for Nerds, Geeks, Medbloggers?

Nerd, Geek, Medblogger

You have a personality profile but you also have a technology profile. A technology profile is intended to characterize and predict how individuals are likely to respond to various aspects of information technology (IT). The technology profile is more concerned with attitudes that may change with experience, rather than with the fundamental, relatively enduring traits that make up personality. Attitudes to computers affect behavior and, in turn, influence people’s use of computers.

There are three factors or dimensions of importance for measuring the technology profile:

  • Confidence vs. anxiety. In the old days of the computers anxiety for computer use was still present.

    About two decades ago, labels such as ‘‘computerphobia” and ‘‘computer aversion” were in common use to describe a negative emotional response to computers.

    The number of anxious computer users has decreased enormoulsy . Since recent it is much more likely to refer to an individual’s confidence when working with computers and the internetNowadays we

  • Approval

    reflects the degree to which people feel positively about IT as a tool to accomplish various ends, such as surfing the internet, sending email, instant messaging, social networking, reconciling accounts, or arranging their photo collections.

    Males have more positive attitudes towards computers and Internet compared to women. More years of computer experience also has an influence of approval towards computer and the Internet.

  • Interest confidence. Some users have an attitude toward IT that is based on its intrinsic interest (Interest). This can be distinguished from the affective attitude of approval.

    There are people that approve of IT and its many uses without necessarily being much interested in the details of how it works. Conversely, there are individuals who find IT interesting but do not have strong likes or dislikes regarding IT.

Other variables are also of influence on attitudes towards computers and Internet such as:

  • Gender. Despite the existence of a considerable literature, our knowledge of women’s attitudes to IT is surprisingly meager, with good empirical data and theory lacking.
  • Age. It will be important to determine the contribution of age-related changes in personality and attitudes as distinct from age-related changes in cognitive abilities.
  • Socio-economic status. SES has a positive association with computer
    experience and a negative relationship with computer anxiety
  • Expertise. different types of users are likely to have predictably different needs

In a recent publication two studies showed that the Technology Profile Inventory provides a comprehensive and up-to-date instrument for measuring attitudes toward computers and the Internet. So now we also have technology profile diagnostics next to personality profiles.

Now why is this important?

Attitudes to computers affect behavior and, in turn, influence people’s use of computers. Thus a reliable measure of individual differences in attitudes to IT can be of value in the field of human–computer interaction (HCI). Knowing an individual’s technology profile can help HCI
researchers to separate the specific effects of the IT situation from the contribution of individual differences.
I SPENCE, C DEYOUNG, J FENG (2008). The technology profile inventory: Construction, validation, and application Computers in Human Behavior DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2008.10.009