Interfaces In A Rational World
Graduate School for Human-Machine Interaction
University of Linköping, Sweden
The standard model for human-machine interaction is based on the communication paradigm formulated by Claude Shannon in the early 1940s ( Shannon & Weaver, 1969). This paradigm describes the exchange of messages between a sender and a receiver, with emphasis on the capacity of the information channel and how messages can be distorted by noise. The paradigm was eagerly adapted by a science of psychology trying to break lose from the confines of behaviourism ( Attneave, 1959; Miller, 1967), and provided the foundation for the psychological models that became part and parcel of information processing psychology, cognitive psychology and cognitive engineering ( Lindsay & Norman, 1977; Newell & Simon, 1972; Wickens, 1984). It also corresponded well to the endeavour to describe human actions as the result of a rational choice, exemplified by the models for human decision making ( Lee, 1971; Edwards, 1954).
When the study of human-machine interaction was devoured by the swelling interest for human-computer interaction in the 1980s, the basic paradigm remained. Human-machine interaction was seen as the exchange of messages (signals and control actions) across an interface, and the information processing view reigned supreme. The processes, cognitive or otherwise, that provided the basis for the communication and interaction were all "cold" rather than "hot", i.e., excluding emotions and affect ( Abelson, 1963). Information processing psychology several times tried to develop theories that included emotions and affect, but with very limited success ( Mandler, 1975; Simon, 1967).