Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Computer Sciences

Publication Details

Social Science Computer Review


This article examines information-search heuristics and communication patterns in an online forum of investors during a period of market uncertainty. Global connections, real-time communication, and technological sophistication have created an unpredictable market environment. As such, investors try to deal with semantic, strategic, and operational uncertainty by following heuristics that reduce information redundancy. In this study, we have tried to find traces of cognitive communication heuristics in a large-scale data set including 8 years of online posts (2004–2012) for a forum of Italian investors. We identified various market volatility conditions on a daily basis to understand the influence of market uncertainty on cognitive and communication processes. We found that investors communicated more dynamically when the market was unstable, while they were more prone to anchor heuristic when market uncertainty was invariant. Furthermore, abnormal market trends triggered more availability-based communication patterns. We also found that expertise matters. This would suggest that online communities need intelligent, context-specific tools to support partner selection and stimulate nonredundant communication.