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Links 1 through 10 of 199 by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D. tagged psychology

Breaking away from my connected life, I could feel how the compulsion, the divided attention, the multitasking has permeated my way of being. Early adopters, the heavy technology users who throw themselves at every new device and service, will admit to an uncontrollable impulse to check email, tweets or Facebook.

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We are developing technologies and design strategies that use context- aware sensing to empower people by providing information when and where decisions and actions can be made. Contrary to many visions of future home environments in the literature, we advocate an approach that uses technology to teach as opposed to using technology primarily for automated control.... Rather than striving to create computer technology that ubiquitously and proactively manages the details of the home, perhaps researchers should aim to create technology that requires human effort in ways that keep life mentally and physically stimulating as people age.

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[T]here are distinct modes of cognition and we need to learn more about how they are developed, inhibited, and what they mean for us in terms of learning, work, relationships, and our environments. Perhaps these distinct cognitive modes realize different kinds of cognitive gains in different contexts. Achieving low efficiencies in single task completion may be offset by high efficiencies in other kinds of tasks. There may be multiple kinds of cognitive goals and realizing them may require a combination of information processing modes or a selection of modes based on goals and context.

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Previous research has shown that a “guided” interface where relevant task information is shown (externalization) can result in worse performance than an “unguided” interface where users have to think more for themselves (internalization). We studied transfer of task performance and whether switching from an “unguided” to a “guided” interface results in better performance than other way around. We also investigated whether the unguided interface enhances performance on a transfer task.

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This paper investigates effects of interface style and cognitive style on problem solving performance. It is often assumed that performance improves when information is externalized onto the interface. Although relieving working memory this may discourage planning, understanding and knowledge acquisition. When information is not externalized, it must be internalized, stored in the user's memory, requiring more planning and thinking, perhaps leading to better performance and knowledge. ... The internalization interface led to more planful behavior and smarter solutions, but NFC had no effect. Understanding reactions to interface information is crucial in designing software aimed at education and learning. To facilitate active learning and provoke better performance, designers should take care in giving users (too) much assistance.

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An experiment was conducted in which subjects had to solve a series of puzzles. We hypothesized that providing greyed-out items (externalization) yields better performance during initial learning. An interface without greying-out (internalization) is expected to yield better performance in later phases, and better knowledge of the task. Subjects solved an isomorph of "missionaries and cannibals" in two conditions: with greyed-out items and without. It showed that externalization had little influence on performance. All subjects learned quite well how to solve the puzzle. On a knowledge test however, it turned out to be different. The procedural knowledge tested afterwards was equal, but declarative knowledge, concerning the rule central to what this problem was about, was worse for persons who had greyed-out items. Also, months later the same internalization-subjects had faster problem recognition of the task, and better performance on a similar task.

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Fascinating study comparing effectiveness of people solving problems using "helpful" [externalization] software vs. simple [internalization]. "Subjects that used the Internalization interface imprinted relevant task and rule knowledge better and were not affected by a severe interruption in the workflow, whereas Externalization subjects were.... [U]sers who internalize information themselves behave more plan-based, are more proactive and ready to make inferences. This in turn results in more focus, more direct and economical solutions, better strategies, and better imprinting of knowledge. This knowledge is easier to recall at a future point in time, and is better transferable to transfer situations where the interface, the task, or both were different, less vulnerable to a severe interruption, and better applicable to transfer situations. Human-computer interaction designers can take advantage from considerations that go beyond plain usability, even when they go against common sense."

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On the value of insight in therapy, beginning with a patent with lots of self-knowledge but little improvement. "Was this because his self-knowledge was flawed or incomplete? Or is insight itself, no matter how deep, of limited value? Psychoanalysts and other therapists have argued for years about this question, which gets to the heart of how therapy works (when it does) to relieve psychological distress. Theoretical debates have not settled the question, but one interesting clue about the possible relevance of insight comes from comparative studies of different types of psychotherapy — only some of which emphasize insight. In fact, when two different types of psychotherapies have been directly compared — and there are more than 100 such studies — it has often been hard to find any differences between them.... It even makes you wonder whether a little self-delusion is necessary for happiness."

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Confidence thus poses a major puzzle. On the one hand, overconfidence appears to be a widespread and powerful feature of human cognition, but on the other hand it appears to cause faulty assessments and major disasters. That makes little sense. Why would this kind of false belief survive in competition with accurate beliefs? How could it even have evolved in the first place?

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Calmness is a characteristic of the system that is experienced by the user in the usage situation, hence our evaluation framework is targeted at evaluating the technology in real usage context. We first identify the characteristics of calmness from the users perspective and then use them to define the dimensions for our evaluation framework. As the framework is subjective in nature, calmness is not presented as numerical values but as graphics. The suggested presentation gives an overall understanding of the application characteristics at a glance. Further, it facilitates understanding the effects of different design and implementation choices and comparing different applications.

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