News From the Field
Rational or Random? Professor Models How People Send E-mails
November 19, 2008
How do people respond to e-mails? Rationally, responding to the most important first, making sure the process is efficient? Or randomly, when they are at their computers or when they have time, without any regard to efficiency? After studying e-mails sent and received from more than 3,000 e-mail accounts at a European university over a three-month period, a Northwestern University research team created a mathematical model that shows people send e-mail randomly, but in cycles.
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