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A Mental Cognitive Model

Of Web semantic for e-Customer Profile

Irene S.Y. Kwan
Department of Information Systems
Lingnan University, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
Abstract e-Business is competing in the new
era of e-market. We need an infrastructure that
could provide insight information to enable
maximum and constant learning that lead to a
responsive web site. To keep the website in
business on-line, we need sufficient on-line
traffic on the e-Business web site. This result of
an urgent need to investigate the keys to satisfy
and stimuli e-customers by providing customereffective websites that delivered business-focused
e-services. The primary need is to produces a
view of the behavior of the e-business system and
its e-customers. Successful e-Business aim to
provide customers with optimal on-line
experience in e-business web site that supports
effective customer relationship from customer
awareness, through exploration to purchase
commitment. This paper focuses on modeling ecustomer behavior by developing a Mental
Cognitive (MC) Model for identifying the web
site semantics via the activities exercised by its
e-customers. Our proposed MC Model also
supports quantitative measure to abstract more
rigorously the behavior of e-customers in
support of Internet marketing.
Keywords: Customer-effective web site, Mental
Cognitive Model, web semantics, Internet

1. Introduction
The quality of service on e-Business site depends
on many interrelated factors such as site
architecture, network capacity, system software
structure and the unpredictable e-surfers
behavior. All these characteristics of e-Business
imply the need of quantitative techniques to
manage the behavior of web-based systems and
its users. The discovery of e-customers
preference on web site surfing could be utilized
to come up with an effective Internet marketing,
web-contents and infrastructure design. This
paper focuses on the modeling of a mean for
discovery of e-customer behavior change of a

particular web site. We have applied a hybrid

approach which combined the use of induction
and deduction mix and principles of association
laws to develop a Mental Cognitive (MC)
Model. This model provide a framework of
reasoning in our other on-going research work
an On-Line Analytical Mining (OLAM)
algorithm, to further discover from e-customers
profile, the critical stimuli factors of e-customer
behavior that trigger the e-customers behavior
changes, based on the MC model. This founding
is very important to Internet marketing. As Web
Servers generate cookies and server log records
that provide valuable identification and
continuous data streams for online analysis,
these source data are valuable asset for our
mining process to discover the association
semantics of web pages tick sequences by ecustomers. As such, an OLAM algorithm built
on the underlying MC model provides the means
for continuous discovery from e-customers click
and tick behavior and profile, to identify their
behavior on website surfing.
Through this knowledge, we could look at how
e-customers visit various web pages besides their
click-through sequences. These include: (1) the
path: how the user traversed the site, from page
to page; (2) the responses and inputs: items the
user entered or was interested in, for example,
searches; (3) the actions and purchases: business
transactions; (4) time-related information: the
log-in time and the relative stay time on each
page and (5) repeat visits: did the same user
come back to the same page several times? As a
result, we need a report to monitor content usage
and site traffic. Reports include knowledge on
what web page(s) or content are popular, what is
not, what types of customers tend to like or
dislike which web page(s) or content. We aim
for discovering the knowledge to direct a
customer to his/her favorable pages that is likely
to lead him/her to purchase on-line. This target
could be accomplished by extracting from the
cleaned log records for e-customers travel paths
that reveals their on-line behavior.

Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Database and Expert Systems Applications (DEXA02)
1529-4188/02 $17.00 2002 IEEE

2. Related works
P.N. Johnson-Laird coined the term Mental
Model, which could enables individuals to make
inference and predictions, to understand
phenomena, to decide what action to take and to
control its execution and above all to experience
events by proxy [6]. We attempt to use MC
model to abstract e-Customers behavior change
by examining their on-line click and tick
cognitively, to support Internet marketing by
providing the e-Customers profile. [4] discussed
a six steps Interactive Marketing Process on the
Internet, in which the initial step had emphasized
the studies of e-customers behavioral approach.
[7] proposed a scheme on e-product
characteristic for Internet marketing. [2]
proposed a hypothetical customer themes
represent common activities or processes, that a
customers want to complete when they visit a
particular web site and use the theme to create
scenario as a base to design a web site content
and its architecture. Our approach differs in the
way that, we provide quantitative values that are
not only measurable but also dynamic, in terms
of continuous data stream input of source data, to
support our argument in determining the ecustomers behavior change in terms of their
scale of preference during web pages surfing.
The Behavior Analysis and Learning has been
widely studied with experimental analysis of
choice and preference, stimulus generalization
and respondent conditioning since almost a
century ago [8]. Recent research on Internet
marketing has recognized the customer factors
such as customer advocacy, building customer
experience to design appropriate marketing
program to for securing customer relationship
and improve sales. We have attempted here a
novel and hybrid approach to integrate the law of
association in behavior studies with induction
and deduction mix in management science
discipline to abstract e-customers mental
cognitive senses, and then, applying the
techniques of OLAM in KDD to discover ecustomers on line experience profile and their
preference. The resulting knowledge set is
expected to support Internet marketing. This
knowledge, to ensure its reliability , need to be
evaluated. The issue of evaluate scientific
theories are brought into focus by data mining
because what is extracted is essentially a
theory of the data [9].

3. The Role of the Mental Cognitive

Model in the OLAM Methodology
Most customers perceive e-Commerce as more
risky than traditional market [5]. Hence, the
primary goal for Internet marketing is to build
and maintain customer relationships through
online activities to facilitate the exchange of
ideas, products and services that satisfy the goals
of both parties. Our MC Model is used to
develop an OLAM algorithm to process the ongoing
dynamically by allowing it to accept continuous
inputs of log records and cookies from the web
server. The MC Model also provides selflearning capability in adjusting the data patterns
extraction criteria in terms of updating the four
e-customer behavior measuring factors as
abstracted by the MC Model. The model accepts
the web masters input value of confidence
levels and the support levels is generated by the
system according to the updated fact table of the
data warehouse. These revised factor values
through learning process would then provide an
update to the measuring criteria to the mining
algorithm to regulate its mining process,
according to the e-customers dynamic
behavioral changes. The following Figure 1
depicts an overall conceptual architecture of our
mental cognitive based OLAM methodology.
This paper is focused on the MC Model (bold
color in the figure below), which creates a
framework for the induction and deduction
reasoning of the four measuring factors in our
OLAM algorithm.


experience and

Cognitive Model


Association Rules and

Knowledge set


Web page tick

OnLine Analytical Mining

Figure 1 The Mental Cognitive Model based

OLAM Methodology

Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Database and Expert Systems Applications (DEXA02)
1529-4188/02 $17.00 2002 IEEE

Our MC Model is built upon the principles of

Association which is the mental glue to hold
together all the sensations capable of being
experienced from a given object. This is not a
new human nature but a well-proven concept.
Artistotle (384-322 B.C.) formulated one of the
first sets of associations principles as human
being remember things together (1) when they
are similar, (2) when they are contrast and (3)
when they are contiguous. It is the third principle
that we are most interested in. This principle
stated that if two or more sensations are felt
together often enough than one of these alone
could invoke the memory of the other(s). The
idea that a sensation, as it occurs in the mind is a
mental phenomenon could be studied and
measured seems to have come into being in 19
centuries [3]. We focus on to collect the esurfers psychological data by keeping track of
their on-line click sequence using the cookies
and web log records, to identify from the
extracted data pattern, the linkage between the
successful final click of commitment ( to buy a
certain product or service) and the traces of its
previous clicks ( previous associated web pages
in awareness and exploration in a session) that
lead to this desire outcome. The relationships
pattern identified could provide a valuable base
for our analysis to discover the association
semantics between stimulus and its resulting
clicks. Figure 2 presents a schematic diagram of
human behavior as we conceived in a cyber
market. Customers interact with a e-commerce
site through a series of consecutive and related
requests made during a single visit or session.
Typical requests may be: Login, Home page,
Browse, Search, Register, Select, Add to
Shopping Cart or Pay. Different surfers may
exhibit different patterns of navigation and thus
request different web pages in various ways and
with various frequencies. Some customers are
frequent buyers while other are occasional
buyers who do extensive browsing and searching
but seldom commit to buy from the site. It is
therefore important to characterize the functions
of web pages into the categories of e-customer
awareness, e-customer exploration and ecustomer commitment, to keep track of their
access frequencies by e-customers for customer




Credit CardDetails
Forms tofill in



Figure 2 An e-surfer/e-customer behavior

understanding on the three phases of e-marketing
shopping: the e-customer awareness, exploration
and commitment. We categories the web page
functions into these three categories, any
corresponding web page being requested reflect
the stage of the e-customer behavior or activity:e-customer behavior : URL request
e-customer awareness : request entry, home
page, brows page
e-customer exploration : login page, registration
page, search page
e-customer commitment : select page, add to
shopping cart page and payment page
The discovery of knowledge about association
between awareness and exploration, exploration
and commitment phases could also help in
identifying the critical success web page that are
highly likely to lead e-customers to the desirable
pages such as the registration page and payment
page. To be able to trace this behavior, we need
mental model. P.N. Johnson Laid coined the
term Mental Model in his 1973 book which he
explained that such mental model enable
individuals to make inference and predictions, to
understand phenomena, to decide what action to
take and to control its execution and above all to
experience events by proxy [McLeod and Schell,
2000]. As such, our OLAM aims to categories
relevant log records in various data cubes which
each act as a proxy to state the association
between various sensations, to provide learning
on stimulus and response, to discover knowledge
on conditioned stimulus (CS) for conditioned

Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Database and Expert Systems Applications (DEXA02)
1529-4188/02 $17.00 2002 IEEE

response (CR) from e-customers. Our MC model

is constructed upon our study of the Scottish
philosopher Thomas Brown (1778-1820)s
secondary laws of association; the nine rules of
secondary laws enable one to predict which
sensations out of a group of sensations were
more likely to become associated [3]. We have
make use of the first, third, fourth and fifth rules
in our mining algorithm as Time (T) factor,
Frequency (F) factor, Recency (R) factor and
Number of associated web pages in sequence (N)
factor, because they are not only stated how
mental association of two elements is modified
but also allow for quantitative measure and
relevant of usage in our OLAM process.

(webpgsexploration)associated with
therespondent (on-linepayment
Hypothesis2:Toattract e-Surferto
activatethesuccessfulstimuli (critical




sensations is modified by the length of
time during which the original
sensations endured.
sensations is modified by the frequency
of their pairing.
sensations is modified by the recency of
their pairing.
sensations is modified by the number of
other associations in which the
sensations to be paired are involved.

The Mental Cognitive Model, shown in Figure 3,

creates a framework for the induction and
deduction reasoning logic in our OLAM
algorithm. It also provides a basis for (1)
defining e-customers activities and the
navigation of their mental connectivity and (2)
for identifying quantitative factors to understand
and measure the behavior of e-customers, using
the above four laws of association. In Figure 3,
the hypothetical construct derived from fact 1
construct can be inferred only from data and
must be awaited for further testing. Our
empirical studies in the area of Internet
marketing research would be able to make a
conclusive judgment of this pair of hypothesis.
The diagram has also presented the concept of
associations in fact2, fact3, fact4 and fact5 are
interrelated with the hypothesis with which the
propositions specified the supportive connection
via deduction.



These four laws of Association are extracted as


Induction: HOW




web-pg.inthepath, reducethefocusofbuying

recentre-visit normaly
forthee-surfer tochange


Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Database and Expert Systems Applications (DEXA02)
1529-4188/02 $17.00 2002 IEEE

4. The Application of Mental Model

for Customer Behavior Studies
We need to encapsulate all our web site
surfers on line experience to discover the
knowledge of customer behavior. Take a
scenario; say the page 5 is the entry of an
order web page. The discovery of what
typical page(s) led to this page of an order
commitment is valuable. We could deduce
from the discovered association rule that
page 1 and Page 3 are the prerequisite for
customer to key in credit card details for a
real sale in a virtual market. Page 1 and page
3 might then be considered to have more
hyper-links existed in other appropriate web
pages, to maximize the opportunity that page
5 could be clicked eventually.
Or in
contrary, those web pages that never led to
page 5 could consider to be contracted by
revision in the web content, page merging,
consolidation or even elimination, depends
on individual cases and further studies on
the web-page content. Many web pages
impressed surfers with non-focused content
or overwhelming the surfers with redundant
information. Our MC Model could assist in
infrastructure, with specific consideration of
surfers preference, time spent, re-visit
frequency on web page and improve the
competitive advantage of the e-Business web

5. Conclusions
In this paper, due to the limit of length, only the
MC Model was presented, it provides the basis
of a mean for web- semantic management
navigation and investigation on e-customers
click and tick behavior for Internet marketing
support. This MC Model was constructed using a
hybrid approach that combined the use of
induction and deduction mix, principles of
association laws and data mining techniques.
Our on-going research is to develop an OLAM
algorithm that built upon the MC model, which
provides the means for continuous discovery on
e-customers click and tick behavior, to identify
their preference and behavior change on website
surfing. As Web Servers generate cookies and
server log records that provide valuable
identification and continuous data streams for
online analysis and querying, these source data
are valuable asset for our mining process to

discover the association semantics of web pages

tick sequences by e-customers. This knowledge
set would be beneficial for e-Business web based
application enhancement by web pages
constructs and content redesign, according to the
personalization), to support Internet marketing.

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Company, pp 10- 19.
[4] Kalakota and Whinston (1996), Frontiers of
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pp215 292.
[5] Malaga Ross A. (2001), Consumer Costs
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[6] McLeod R. and Schell G. (2000),
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Hall, pp. 333
[7] Melody Y. Kiang, TS Raghu and Kevin HM
Shang (2000), Marketing on the Internet
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[8] Piere D. and Epling F. (1995), Behavior
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[9] Ian H. Witten and Eibe Frank (2000), Data
Mining, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers,

Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Database and Expert Systems Applications (DEXA02)
1529-4188/02 $17.00 2002 IEEE