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Donald Norman (1983a)

Some Observations on Mental Models

In: Mental Models, ed. by Dedre Gentner & Albert L Stevens. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., New Jersey, chap. 1, pp. 7-14. Cognitive Science.

Dr. Norman describes the properties of mental models — that they can be contradictory, incomplete, superstitious, erroneous, and unstable, varying in time. So the job of system designers is to help users form an accurate and useful mental model of a system. And the job of researchers is to set up experiments to learn to understand actual mental models, even though they may be messy and incomplete.

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