Tag Archives: human behavior

a facebook notification

How Long Do We Have to Wait for Effective Notifications?

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I have been sitting on this topic for over a year. I finally am breaking down. After the CES show, I don’t see anything better on the market right now, but this idea for operating system–level notification modeling from Shruti Gandhi has given be enough hope to propose some ideas.

One answer could be consolidation. Snowball is almost headed in the right direction. Snowball consolidates all your alerts in one place.

a small computing device clipped to a pocket to track movement

Fitbits for People with Multiple Sclerosis

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I have written before about wearables. They are a nice toy, but in general they don’t really do anything particularly useful, at least not with the current technology. This week, I read about a great application in health care, and I think it works.

Drugmaker Biogen Idec is exploring ways to use fitness trackers to gather data from people who suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.

two guys talking

Ineffective Self Promotion

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Some recent research by Irene Scopelliti and her colleagues should be of real interest. What they found is not only important to those of us who consider ourselves as experts at something for self-protection but also because the social dynamics basis has a lot of human factors to it.

People engage in self-promotional behavior because they want others to hold favorable images of them. Self-promotion, however, entails a tradeoff between conveying one’s positive attributes and being seen as bragging.

a smiling woman

Believing Your Own Self Delusion

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We cover the challenges of deluded thinking a lot here at Ergonomics in Design. Part of the reason is that I am fascinated by the psychological processes that lead to deluded thinking. The other reason of course is that as human factors practitioners we need to be aware of when deluded thinking can impact performance. As you might expect, many people “airbrush” what they post on social media such as Facebook. What makes it more interesting is that we start believing our own deceptions…

a car crash

Modeling Driver Steering

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This research is not quite ready for the market, but has a lot of potential to improve driver safety.

The ability to predict what a driver is going to do in the near future and to be able to prepare the car’s system for this sounds a little bit like science fiction, and it would naturally be a dream come true for the safety departments at car manufacturers. The dream is now one step closer to becoming reality…

an example of an electronic voting system

Electronic Democracy: A Fundamentally New Form of Democracy using HF Design

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I am not going to do the fantastic proposal put forward by Dirk Knemeyer in his new book. I say fantastic not because I think it will work as described. But because it has some great ideas that with some modifications, evolution, trial and error, and perhaps some time, just might improve the devolution we are seeing in the current government. As the saying goes, it’s crazy enough that it just might work.

It is just possible that we are reaching the nadir of the existing democratic process in the United States, an environment of toxicity and partisanship that shows no sign of softening. Coincidentally we are also at a moment where technology enables the tantalizing potential to reconsider the way our government is structured…

a wire figure kneeling and bowing

Cognitive Humility and Information Processing

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Cognitive Humility is a concept we never talk about in our HF/E education or training, but I think it is much more important than we realize. I am going to define it a little more specifically than either Annie Murphy Paul or David Brooks do.

Brooks, the New York Times op-ed columnist, has for the past couple of years taught a course called “Humilty” at Yale… The purpose of the course, according to its description in the catalog, is to study “traditions of modesty and humility in character building and political leadership,” and to explore “the premise that human beings are blessed with many talents but are also burdened by sinfulness, ignorance, and weakness.”…

a man and woman holding hands

Gaming OKCupid for the Perfect Match

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Romance is a great domain to investigate self-delusion because it is so personal. And since on-line dating sites are still incredibly popular and contain so much data, we can mine it for many insights. And thanks to Chris McKinlay, we have PhD quality evidence. Some of his best conclusions are visualized here. But before I get myself into a lot of hot water by being politically incorrect, let me first say that these insights also apply to lots of other situations…

mushrooms in the grass

Metacognition and Decision Making

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Forgive me for having a little fun in today’s post, but I had an interesting metacognitive experience this morning coming to work that I wanted to share. It is directly relevant to my previous post on the debate between Gerd Gigerenzer and behavioral economists on the System 1 / System 2 model. So here goes…

money and a watch

Motivational Priming

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My research in the domain of human motivation has had a profound influence on me. I never realized how important the distinction is between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. When we are motivated intrinsically, we become dedicated, passionate, and persistent. When we are motivated extrinsically, we get tunnel vision on the reward and become less concerned with the underlying activity. This can result in lower quality of performance if we can get the reward through shortcuts. A recent study by Francesca Gino at Harvard Business School found something quite powerful…