Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview
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Cognitive architectures -- A theoretical
foundation for HCI

Dieter Wallach1 and Marcus Plach2
1 University of Basel, 2 Saarland University


Recent years saw the development of a number of comprehensive theories of human cognition termed cognitive architectures that start to have an increasing impact on cognitive modeling applied to research questions in HCI. Gray, Young and Kirschenbaum ( 1997) regard cognitive architectures as the most important contribution to a theoretical foundation for HCI "since the publication of The Psychology of Human-Computer-Interaction ( Card, Moran, and Newell, 1983)". The authors speculate that architectures are in the process of becoming the preferred route for bringing cognitive theory to bear on HCI. While applications of architectures to HCI issues are illustrated in only 11 articles published in the period from 1983-1993, more than twice as many have been published in the last five years, indicating an ever increasing interest in practical and theoretical implications of cognitive architectures

What is a Cognitive Architecture?

A cognitive architecture embodies a comprehensive scientific hypothesis about the structures and mechanisms of the cognitive and perceptual/motor system that can be regarded as (relatively) constant over time and independent of a task ( Howes and Young 1997). On the one hand, these approaches provide an integrative theoretical framework for explaining and predicting human behavior on a wide range of tasks. On the other hand, architectures are theoretically justified, implemented software systems that allow for the computational modeling of different phenomena. By postulating a core system of theoretically motivated constructs, architectures ground HCI models in cognitive theory and provide a vehicle for our understanding of human behavior in operating interactive systems.


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Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1
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