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Glossary » Psychology


(psychology) an error resulting from skilled behavior being performed at a time when it shouldn’t, such as accidentally driving to the office when you intended to drive to the store. Highly-practiced behaviors become automatic and the triggers for these automatic…

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social psychology

the study of how people interact in groups, how they think about groups of people, and how other individuals affect a person’s behavior. Social psychology overlaps with other fields in their interest in communication, motivation, and social cognition.

Social psychology…

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a diagram that shows interaction patterns between people; for instance, a diagram with a node to represent each individual and lines drawn between individuals to indicate that they interact frequently. These diagrams can be used to study workflows, the clustering…

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speech act

a view of language that treats communication as a series of actions in the form of speech, where each action is intended to cause some change in the world outside the speaker, whether it be:

by causing a direct physical

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speed-accuracy tradeoff

in many types of perceptual-motor tasks, there is a tradeoff between how fast a task can be performed and how many mistakes are made in performing the task. That is, a user can either perform the task very fast with…

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statistical validity

the degree to which an observed result, such as a difference between 2 measurements, can be relied upon and not attributed to random error in sampling and measurement.

The degree of statistical significance of a result depends upon the number…

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the perception of depth based on the differences in images that reach the 2 eyes.

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stimulus-response compatibility

the degree to which what people perceive is consistent with the actions they need to take.

Saying “red” when you see a red light go on is an example of high compatibility. Having to say “green” when a red light…

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surrogate users

people used as a substitute or representative for users, in order to provide information in design meetings, user testing, and so forth.

Typical surrogates would include managers, union reps, coworkers, friends, and designers (especially those who have interacted w/ users).…

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task analysis

a set of methods for decomposing people’s tasks in order to understand the procedures better and to help provide computer support for those tasks. The basic approach is to define the task and the goal of the task and then…

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the fear of technology; the reluctance to use or learn how to use computers. Most often, this term is used inappropriately to blame users for their distaste for technology when in fact the technology truly is to blame for its…

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test protocol

the set of steps to perform a user test, typically written out as a script and included with test materials as a specification for the entire testing process.

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think aloud protocol

a technique in user testing where users are asked to speak their thoughts as they perform a task.

While the focus in user testing is primarily on how effectively a user performs the required tasks (and not on how users…

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Thurstone scale

a way of measuring people’s attitudes along a single dimension by asking them to indicate that they agree or disagree with each of a large set of statements (e.g. 100) that are about that attitude. The statements are designed to…

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in various approaches to recording and logging user behavior, time stamps record the time at which the recorded events occurred. Time stamps can appear on videotape recordings, website hit logs, and logs of key presses and mouse clicks.

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within-subjects design

a study designed to make a comparison of 2 or more designs and that compares them by having each user try each design, measuring their performance for each design. The most common problem is that people learn over time, and…

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