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The idea is that people form a model. You present them with some instruments, tools, like a faucet, electric stove or something like that and demonstrate how it works. They then form in their heads a model that shows how it works inside to help them remember how to use it in the future. It may be a totally erroneous model of what is going on inside the black box.
Don Norman cited principles of cognitive engineering in his 1981 article, "The truth about Unix: The user interface is horrid." Norman criticized the user interface of Unix as being "a disaster for the casual user." However the "casual user" is not the target audience for UNIX and as the Congdon quote above indicates, a high level of user interface abstraction leads to cognitive models that may be "totally erroneous."
- Wilson, Kyle M.; Helton, William S.; Wiggins, Mark W. (2013). "Cognitive engineering". Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science. 4 (1): 17–31. doi:10.1002/wcs.1204. PMID 26304173.
- "Interview with Joseph H. Condon (transcript)". History of Science, Princeton University. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
- "Joseph H. Condon". Princeton University History of Science.
- Norman, Don (1981). "The truth about Unix: The user interface is horrid" (PDF). Datamation (27(12)).
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