CHAPTER 6

Users’ Mental Models: The Very Ideas

Stephen J. Payne,     Cardiff University, Wales

6.1 MOTIVATION

The user’s mental model of the device is one of the most tantalizing ideas in the psychology of human-computer interaction (HCI). Certainly, it is one of the most widely discussed theoretical constructs: It was in the vanguard of early attempts to derive theoretical approaches to HCI that progressed cognitive science at the same time as having a genuine practical impact.

The concept of mental model appealed to theorists of HCI, especially cognitive psychologists, perhaps because it holds out hope that their particular branch of science might really be at the heart of what it means to design technologies that are fit for human purposes ...

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