Was ich gerade mache im…Januar 2022

Momentan bereite ich mich im Rahmen meines Psychologiestudiums u.a auf ein Human-Factors Seminar vor, bei dem wir in einer Gruppe eine Präsentation halten werden. Unser Thema ist Aufmerksamkeit im Kontext von Flugzeugsteuerung, u.a wird der Hapag Lloyd Flug 3378 (Notlandung) thematisiert. Ziemlich spannend.

Bild: Wikipedia

U.a geht es darum, wie die Aufmerksamkeitsfähigkeit von Stress/ Angst beeinflusst wird. Eine Theorie, welche sich mit dem Thema beschäftigt ist z.B die Attentional Control Theory- kurz ACT (Eysenck et al., 2007). Die Theorie beschreibt eine Reihe spezifischer Veränderungen der Aufmerksamkeit, die als Folge von Angst (u.a stressbedingt) auftreten können.
Hinter der ACT steht ein sehr zentrales Modell, wie Aufmerksamkeit eigentlich gesteuert wird – nämlich dass Aufmerksamkeit durch zwei unterschiedliche Netzwerke generiert wird. Posner (1980) und Corbetta & Shulman(2002) sprachen von „two major attention networks

Auf der einen Seite steht demnach ein endogenes Netzwerk dies ist durch top-down Prozesse gesteuert also eher zielorientiert (aus der Person kommend). Die Prozesse sind bewusst von der Person gesteuert ( “Ich habe mir etwas vorgenommen, darauf lenke ich meine Aufmerksamkeit”) d.h also man richtet die Aufmerksamkeit nach Wissen, Erwartungen und Zielen aus. Im Flugkontext wird dieses dann beeinflusst durch z.B das mentale Modell von Pilot*innen, dem fachlichen Wissen und auch der gerade aktuellen Flugphase in der sie sich befinden.

Auf der anderen Seite ist das exogenes Netzwerk, dies ist reizgetrieben, also stimulusorientiert und somit aus der Umwelt kommend. Dies wird von auffälligen und eher unerwarteten sensorischen Ereignissen beeinflusst. z.B im Flugkontext blinkenden Cockpit-Instrumenten oder andere Objekte, die unerwartet auftauchen.

Die ACT geht nun davon aus, dass Angst das Gleichgewicht zwischen diesen beiden Netzwerken/Systemen stört, wobei das reizgesteuerte exogene Netzwerk dann den Vorrang hat und das zielgerichtete Netzwerk zurückdrängt.

Und und hier haben wir auch schon einen Bezug zum dem oben schon angesprochenen Hapag-Lloyd-Flug: Das Flight Management System bei diesem Vorfall zog in der Notfallsituation ( = Angst/Stress Situation) wohl so viel Aufmerksamkeit auf sich (reizgesteuert), dass es den Piloten über einen relativ langen Zeitraum wohl gar nicht mehr in den Sinn kam, wie man das Problem am besten ohne technische Unterstützung beheben kann (vgl. Badke-Schaub P., Hofinger G., Lauche K., 2012). Also hier war wohl das endogene System mitsamt dem Fachwissen eher im Hintergrund.

Ich finde das ganz schön bemerkenswert auch im Sinne wie man aufgrund solcher Erkenntnisse (die hier jetzt nat. etwas verkürzt und nicht in allen Details dargestellt sind) ggf dagegensteuern kann.

Denn wie so oft steht in den Unfallberichten dann „Human error“ und oft kann man sich fragen: War es wirklich ein „human error“ oder war es doch eher human error by design?

Cognitive Psychology for Designers: Visual Search – Feature Integration Theory

How do we find what we are looking for? And how do we do it?

Visual search deals with the problem of how we find what we are looking for (relevant things) in a world full of things that might also be irrelevant to us.

Visual search is necessary for our daily life. Imagine we have to process all the information in our visual field at once. It is simply not possible because of our limited cognitive capacity. Visual search is also very important for design. 

See this example:

The new Google App icons are tough to scan for. Maps is so hard for me to locate. Anyone else experiencing this? pic.twitter.com/VWg9qeoG6E

— Erika Hall (@mulegirl) October 27, 2020
„Cognitive Psychology for Designers: Visual Search – Feature Integration Theory“ weiterlesen

Finally – M4 Sozialpsychologie Klausur: erledigt


So , heute hab ich endlich etwas zum Abschluss gebracht, was schon viel zu lange fällig war: meine Modulabschlussprüfung in Sozialpsychologie. Vielleicht wissen ja einige, dass ich „nebenbei“ noch Psychologie an der Fernuni in Hagen studiere.
Ewig mache ich mit dem betreffenden Modul schon rum, mitten im Semester nicht weitergemacht, die Klausur nicht mitgeschrieben..weil immer was war etc pp. – aber nun ist es endlich erledigt, juhu… und es fühlt sich gut an, dass dies vom Tisch ist! 😊 Das Modul interessiert mich sehr, und es gibt da immer so viel links und rechts interessantes und relevantes zu gucken, bringt aber nichts für die Klausur. :D Die Prüfung fand ich teilweise persönlich nicht so einfach (und viele meiner Kommilitonen auch nicht, wie man in Gesprächen direkt nach der Klausur merkte) da ein großer Teil in der Mitte auftauchte, den wir wohl alle *in dem Ausmaß* bezüglich Statistik und Forschungsdesign nicht ganz so auf dem Schirm hatten, naja, egal, denke, dass ich bestanden habe – sicher wissen werde ich das allerdings wohl erst in 5-6 Wochen. Übrigens schreiben wir in Berlin seit letztem Semester die Klausuren elektronisch auf iPads und ich war selbstverständlich megaskeptisch wegen der Usability und malte mir schon die schlimmsten Szenarien aus – Berufskrankheit 😬 etc, aber großes Lob an Dynexite – super einfach und null Featureitis, wirklich sehr übersichtlich. Das Tool wurde an der Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaften der RWTH Aachen entwickelt.

Ab April geht’s offiziell weiter mit Allgemeine Psychologie 1: Kognition – auch bereits einmal angefangen und liegen lassen. Die wunderbare und spannende Welt der menschlichen Wahrnehmung, yay.
Nun bin ich von den letzten Wochen gerade ganz schön platt und erledigt,dachte eigentlich, dass ich sehr ruhig bin, merkte aber teilweise erhebliche Schlafstörungen die letzten beiden Wochen etc…und schätze, dass ich das doch nicht so easy wegsteckte. Aber nun ist erstmal unglaublicherweise ein *richtiges* Wochenende, yeah.

Und für alle die mit Statistik was anfangen können hier der passende Song:

Variable interval rewards are evil.

If you question what this might have to do with interaction design, please observe for example peoples scrolling behavior. This is a good example of a reward with a variable schedule of reinforcement. It’s operant conditioning, making you behave just exactly like these birds in the video.

Follow a leader – übers „Nudging“

Ich gehe heute Abend auf eine Veranstaltung wo das Thema Nudging diskutiert wird und bin schon seeehr gespannt. Ich hoffe, mein *Confirmation Bias* steht mir nicht allzusehr im Weg, denn meine Position zu „sanften Stupsern“ oder dem „libertären Paternalismus“ – wie Nudging auch genannt wird – ist sehr verfestigt und lässt sich einem Zitat von unserem alten Kumpel Kant ganz gut ausdrücken:

„Es ist so bequem, unmündig zu sein. Habe ich ein Buch, das für mich Verstand hat, einen Seelsorger, der für mich Gewissen hat, einen Arzt, der für mich die Diät beurteilt, u.s.w., so brauche ich mich ja nicht selbst zu bemühen. Ich habe nicht nötig zu denken, wenn ich nur bezahlen kann; andere werden das verdrießliche Geschäft schon für mich übernehmen.“

Kurz:
„Sapere aude!“ – habe den Mut, zu Wissen.

Aus: Immanuel Kant, Was ist Aufklärung

Orga culture and UX: Competition vs common vision

via GIPHY

Image: Cooperation, exemplary image. ;)

The famous robbers cave field experiment conducted by Muzafer Sherif (1954, 1958, 1961) investigated how and why group conflicts occur.

Sherif argued that conflict between groups (intergroup conflicts) occur in case of two groups are in competition for limited resources (like e.g recognition etc)

The research group arranged an artificial competitional environment (which does not necessarily reflect real life conditions) where friction conflict and frustration between the groups was likely to occur.It didn’t take long and the predictions of the researchers came true, the two groups had become strong rivals and behaved hostile to each other. The conflicts only subsided as the researchers began to create situations in which the opposing groups had to solve problems together, thus creating a common goal and vision to achieve these goals.

Sherifs studies could teach us a little bit about organizational conflicts like eg silo thinking, political and ego driven processes, etc – which we are often confronted with in our work as experience designers and which have a direct impact on product development and at the end of the day: the users’s experience. The experiemnts also emphasize how important it is to have common goals and therefore a common vision.

The study was and is ethically questionable and was also biased. Nevertheless I think it can teach us about how intergroup conflicts occur, what to do against it – also in organizational structures and teams.

Reference:
Sherif, M. (1954). Experimental study of positive and negative intergroup attitudes between experimentally produced groups: robbers cave study.

Google Duplex‘ natural speech pattern: It’s a human? No it’s not!

I think we now go really deep into the uncanny valley. I think it is of psychological and also sociological relevance that we know if we speak to another human or a machine.The point is, it may be perceived as cheating, playing with trust.

Friend or foe? Social presence is an important factor to consider in Interaction /UX Design

Ever yelled at your computer? Congrats! You’re in good company applying social responses to inanimate things. We as humans are wired to be social creatures. And even digital products may trigger social responses and you might not even be aware of it.

Often, computing technology conveys some sort of social presence. Resulting to that fact people do respond to this technology often as though the technology item is a social entity like eg another human (For reference on that see e.g Reeves, B. and Nass, C. ;1996. The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places, Stanford University)

Here are a few examples how social presence is conveyed (among other things):

Fig 01: Keepon, a social robot/beatbot for autistic children

Keepon is a computing technology in form of a robot. It conveys social presence for us humans through (obvious) physical cues like a face. It has eyes and also some physical skills like it starts dancing/moving and making funny noises when it listens to music or when you interact with it.

Fig 02: Siri, a voice based digital assistant

Also, voice based digital assistants like Siri convey – in this case despite their very futuristic and techy appearance – social presence through language cues but also through social roles like gender which we implicitly perceive. We will imply implicit assumptions and personality behind it – despite we are knowing it is a machine.

Fig 03: Unhelpful error message found in moodle a while ago

But of course, also technology with no obvious physical cues like faces or other cues like voice/spoken language at all can convey social presence. For example simply in presenting an error message, respectively by using written language/plain copy to communicate with a human. The example error message above is not providing any helpful hint what exactly has happened/has gone wrong and also it uses a strange language (It says: Error found. Error only could be removed by a programmer. Course not usable) – so I will attribute this behavior to the product/company behind it: eg they are blaming me for that error only a programmer can remove, so they are unhelpful and they don’t care about me /their customers/users etc.

So, in all these cases, considering theories provided by social psychology research and lessons learned from human-to-human interaction can serve as a valuable source of information and also guidance when it comes to making design decisions for interactive products or any computing technology. For better understanding, I recommend trying out how the communication would be perceived if it were a human-to-human interaction instead of a human-computer interaction. This works quite well in e.g a role-playing game within your team. One is the user while the other person is playing the computer or application. So you can pay attention to how the communication will feel like. Another way may be simply writing down the interaction as a System/User dialogue and behavior, considering the System as a character.

With that in mind, I’ll leave you with Paul Watzlawick’s “One cannot not communicate”.

The Wonderful World of Human Cognition: The time course of visual perception

„We see the forest before the trees“

– Navon, D. (1977)

How do we perceive objects? Classic theories of object recognition (so-called feature theories) often claim that we first process specific features/details of something followed by a more general processing. This is not true: There is strong evidence that our visual system is designed that general (or global) processing is typically prior and quicker compared to detailed (or local) processing. For example: Generally, words are recognized before its individual letters. However, this effect does not always occur: it could be manipulated by instructions to focus either on global or local items more – or simply by putting smaller items (local items like for example letters of a word) of an object further apart or make them bigger.

This coarse-to-fine way of visual perception is also supported by neuroscience. Several studies (Musel et al., 2012; Flevaris et al.,2014; Livingstone, 2000) found that visual processing develops over time – even if it seems instantaneous to us. In the following video neurobiologist, Dr. Margaret Livingstone demonstrates that a focus on so-called spatial frequencies (it claims that the visual cortex operates on a code of spatial frequency, not on the code of straight edges and lines) could help to explain why the smile of the Mona Lisa is so elusive.

A screenshot from the video shows the steps on how we perceive objects based on the theory: Very low spatial frequencies (left) –> coarse or global processing, low spatial frequencies (centre) and high spatial frequencies (on the right) for detailed, local processing

Implications on design:
So, why could these findings be interesting for (interface) design? Findings like this can help us to focus on simplicity in e.g icon design where people often will have a much harder time to recognize an icon when it is designed with too many details, which may be perceived as distracting or even somehow unpleasant simply because it takes longer for humans to process the details (= more cognitive work to do).

It may be also important for the topic of visual hierarchy or: the arrangements of all the elements in a design which makes sure that one can find the way to the information needed and which separates important from not-so-important information.

Further reading:
Navon, D. (1977). Forest before trees: the precedence of global features in visual perception. Cogn. Psychol. 9, 353–383.

Hegdé, J. (2008). Time course of visual perception: Coarse-to-fine processing and beyond. Progress in Neurobiology, 84, 405–439.

Flevaris, A.V., Martinez, A. & Hillyard, S.A. (2014). Attending to global versus local stimulus fea- tures modulates neural processing of low versus high spatial frequencies: An analysis with event- related brain potentials. Frontiers in Psychology, 5 (Article 277).

Image source: Forest Wide by Joe Hart; CC BY 2.0

Cognitive models as a substitute for quantitative usability tests?

„Cognitive models can serve as a substitute for (quantitative) user tests. User models built with ACT-R can simulate the interaction with a certain task. Cognitive modeling has two advantages over real user tests; first of all no human participants are needed when good and evaluated models exist and second, important information about underlying cognitive processes can be discovered. Implications from these findings can then be used in designing further applications.“

Russwinkel, N., & Prezenski, S. (2014). ACT-R meets usability. Or why cognitive modeling is a useful tool to evaluate the usability of smartphone applications. Paper presented at Cognitive 2014: The Sixth International Conference on Advanced Cognitive Technologies and Application, Venice (pp. 62-65).

Huh. So many questions. I guess a computational model generally de-emphasizes or even neglects human emotional and affective factors as any other feelings such as stress, tiredness and their implications on motivational factors. (I think I read somewhere that ACT-R has built in some motivational component?)

I don’t think computational models could substitute humans when it comes to usability evaluation even when the evaluation is only based on efficiency data, but it is definitely a very interesting approach which caught my attention and now I’m curious :)

John McCarthy on AI

Stumbled upon this goodie while researching on cognitive architectures for a course.

„(…) a machine isn’t the sum of its parts, if somebody took a car apart and gave you a heap of the parts that wouldn’t be a car – they have to be connected in a specified way and interacting in a specified way, and so, if you want to say that the mind is a structure composed of parts interacting in a specialized way I would agree with that, but it isn’t just a heap of them“

On cognitive dissonance and rewards

„We try to reduce the dissonance between how we think we should act and how we actually act by changing one or the other“

This is interesting because it is contrary to incentive / economic theories which claim that the higher the reward will be the more likely people will change their mind – but only if there is a mismatch between my internal attitudes, values an or core beliefs and how I actually act.

The video shows excerpts of a classic experiment in social psychology conducted by Leon Festinger and James M Carlsmith in 1959 which is called „Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance“. Forced compliance is very closely related to the theory of cognitive dissonance which states that there will be the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. This, in turn, is related to one of the main principles in Gestalt Theory: The principle of good form.

Gender stereotypes applied to machines

Amongst other things when it comes to gender stereotyping, studies show that dominant behavior by males tends to be positively received by western society since dominant men tend to be perceived as “independent”,“assertive“ and „successful“, whereas dominant women tend to be perceived as “pushy” or “bossy”.

Nass et al did a series of studies in the late 90s to determine if computers trigger the same scripts and cognitive schemas associated with gender stereotyping – as they conducted an experiment they found out their hypothesis that people mindlessly apply gender stereotypes to computers were supported.

During this experiment, participants used computers for three separate sessions:
a) tutoring (via voice output), b) testing (screen-based), and c) evaluation (via voice output).

„The results supported the hypothesis that individuals would mindlessly gender-stereotype computers. Both male and female participants found the female-voiced evaluator computer to be significantly less friendly than the male-voiced evaluator, even though the content of their comments was identical. In addition, the generally positive praise from a male-voiced computer was more compelling than the same comments from a female-voiced computer: Participants thought the tutor computer was significantly more competent (and friendlier) when it was praised by a male-voiced computer, compared to when it was praised by a female-voiced computer. And finally, the female-voiced tutor computer was rated as significantly more informative about love and relationships compared to the male-voiced tutor, while the male-voiced tutor was rated as significantly more informative about computers.“

(Nass et al., 1997).

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