Mental models, magical thinking and individual differences.

Turner, Phil and Sobolewska, Emilia (2009) Mental models, magical thinking and individual differences. Human Technology, 5 (1). pp. 90-113. ISSN 1795-6889

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Broadly, there are two mutually exclusive accounts of how people (non-specialist users) reason about and conceptualize interactive technology. The first is based on classical cognitive psychology and is characterized by the term mental model. The second, drawing on concepts from social cognition, observes that people often anthropomorphize technology. We argue that people are able to exhibit both of these quite different styles of cognition, which Baron-Cohen has described as systemizing and empathizing. The former is associated with the drive to analyze, explore, and construct a system, whereas the latter is the ability to spontaneously tune into another’s thoughts and feelings. The propensity to systemize might give rise to a mental model, while the empathizing tendency might tend to anthropomorphize technology. We present an empirical study that lends support for the above position.

Item Type: Article
Print ISSN: 1795-6889
Uncontrolled Keywords: human–computer interaction; cognitive style; mental model; anthropomorphization;
University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries > School of Computing
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 100 Philosophy & psychology > 150 Psychology > 158 Applied psychology
000 Computer science, information & general works > 000 Computer science, knowledge & systems > 004 Data processing & computer science
Library of Congress Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Item ID: 3515
Depositing User: Computing Research
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2010 15:32
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2013 14:30

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