Delivering Cognitive Psychology to HCI: The Problems of Common Language and of Knowledge Transfer

Green, T. R. G., Davies, S. P. & Gilmore, D. J.    Interacting with Computers 1996 v.8 n.1 p. 89-111

Summary: Although cognitive psychology showed much initial promise, it has failed to make significant contributions to the study of human-computer interaction, which has led to a rejection of cognitivism in favour of situated action theory. The authors accept that the critique has much to offer, but reject the outright abandoning of cognitivism. Cognitive psychology needs a common language in which to describe interaction between people and artifacts: two examples of research in progress are described, one focused on events, the other on representations and the relationship between the information display and the conceptual model. Cognitive psychology also needs a better delivery method than the traditional research paper, and the idea is proposed of a vocabulary of 'cognitive dimensions', terms which can be meaningfully used by non-specialists (who will recognise familiar but uncrystallised concepts) and which can be used as indexes to the professional literature. These two components form a proposal for improving the effectiveness of cognitive psychology. The paper ends with the hope that mainstream cognitive psychology will broaden its area of enquiry.


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