Cognition – exploring the science of the mind
The author believes that we need a lot of background knowledge for understanding even a simple short story. Indeed cognition is really complicated, even it doesn’t seem so. Also he categorizes our knowledge into generic and episodic. He also shows how vital memory is in our daily life and “without a memory, there is no self”, he states.
Then he provides some history of the cognitive psychology. He defines Introspection (a disappointing approach to the cognitive science) and Behaviorism as trials for understanding how brain works.
The interesting part is that psychologists have started to model the human brain based on the computers and the way they work. They then reached a model of “Working-memory” which explains many attitudes that we have when using our brain. Lastly, he states that some believe that human intelligence in many domains is nothing but excess capacity in working memory which indicates the importance of that.
The model of the “Working Memory” reminds me of the CPU (Central Processing Unit) which has caches for calculations. Caches are superfast and super expensive memories that are used by the cores to give them the same support as working memory in brain.
The point is that I believe we have explained the way brain works according to our knowledge on computers, but at some extend we might be wrong. As the Newton’s laws cannot explain the quantum physics, this model also might not be able to explain all our abilities and the way brain works.
An Introduction to Human Factors Engineering
This book starts with some episodes to show how crucial is the way we interact with systems. Then the author defines usability with productivity and error reduction. Then he explains how we can improve user experience through five different ways. Then we can see the domain of the human factors and how vast and broad this subject is.
As far as I see, the human factors along with cognitive psychology play an important role in HCI, because we already know a lot about computers and systems because we have invented them. But we need to know more about humans in order to improve the interaction between these two. Knowing human capabilities and limits can help us a lot in HCI, especially in designing user interfaces.
Dix Chapter 1
This book has really good definitions of three major parts in HCI: Human (user), Computer and the Interaction and the HCI in general as well.
I think this one was a must-read for me and anyone how wants to know what HCI is. It really helps to get familiar with HCI.
I think the topics are well organized, however, some topics are extremely narrow (like “papers on how fast you type on your phone”), meanwhile some other are really broad, e.g. “Child computer interaction”. I think the latter for example, could have been divided to some narrower categories. But the whole categorizing seems so good and understandable.
Did you enjoy these readings? At least for the first your response seemed, understandably, a bit skeptical. I really enjoyed the comparison of cognitive psychology to the mysteriousness of poetry. The mind is definitely fascinating and mysterious, at least to me. Observations and theories may be considered fact by some, but unlike mathematical sciences most human sciences do not have the same feeling of hard logical proof. Ideas, emotions, color, performance, memory, and interactions are very abstract and like beauty open to interpretation. It is easy to say that one idea or method “works” to solve a problem or describe multiple people so it should “always work” but that is narrow and faulty.
I like that you took the time to analyze each of the readings and bring in your own perspective. Thank you for sharing.
“Poetry is said to make the mysterious familiar and the familiar mysterious.” –Cognition, Exploring the Science of the Mind, Daniel Reisber, Reed College