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Cognitive engineering is a method of study using cognitive psychology to design and develop engineering systems to support the cognitive processes of users.[1]

HistoryEdit

It was an engineering method used in the 1970s at Bell Labs, focused on how people form a cognitive model of a system based upon common metaphors.[2] As explained, by Joseph Henry Condon:[2]

The idea is that people form a model. You present them with some instruments, tools, like a faucet, electric stove or something like that and demonstrate how it works. They then form in their heads a model that shows how it works inside to help them remember how to use it in the future. It may be a totally erroneous model of what is going on inside the black box.

— Joseph Henry Condon, "Interview with Joseph H. Condon (transcript)". History of Science, Princeton University. Retrieved 2017-05-17.

According to Condon, the ideas of cognitive engineering were developed later than, and independent from, the early work on the Unix operating system.[3]

Don Norman cited principles of cognitive engineering in his 1981 article, "The truth about Unix: The user interface is horrid." Norman criticized the user interface of Unix as being "a disaster for the casual user."[4] However the "casual user" is not the target audience for UNIX and as the Congdon quote above indicates, a high level of user interface abstraction leads to cognitive models that may be "totally erroneous."

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Wilson, Kyle M.; Helton, William S.; Wiggins, Mark W. (2013). "Cognitive engineering". Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science. 4 (1): 17–31. doi:10.1002/wcs.1204. PMID 26304173.
  2. ^ a b "Interview with Joseph H. Condon (transcript)". History of Science, Princeton University. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  3. ^ "Joseph H. Condon". Princeton University History of Science.
  4. ^ Norman, Don (1981). "The truth about Unix: The user interface is horrid" (PDF). Datamation (27(12)).