of people the designs are apt to be faulty difficult to use difficult to

Of people the designs are apt to be faulty difficult

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of people, the designs are apt to be faulty, difficult to use, difficult to understand. That is why it is useful to consider the seven stages of action. The mind is more difficult to comprehend than actions. Most of us start by believing we already understand both human behavior and the human mind. After all, we are all human: we have all lived with ourselves all of our lives, and we like to think we understand ourselves. But the truth is, we don t. Most of human behavior is a result of subconscious processes. We are unaware of them. As a result, many of our beliefs about how people behave including beliefs about ourselves are wrong. That is why we have the multiple social and behavioral sciences, with a good dash of mathematics, economics, computer science, information science, and neuroscience. Consider the following simple experiment. Do all three steps: 1. Wiggle the second finger of your hand. 2. Wiggle the third finger of the same hand. 3. Describe what you did differently those two times. On the surface, the answer seems simple: I thought about moving my fingers and they moved. The difference is that I thought two: The Psychology of Everyday Actions 45 about a different finger each time. Yes, that s true. But how did that thought get transmitted into action, into the commands that caused different muscles in the arm to control the tendons that wiggled the fingers? This is completely hidden from consciousness. The human mind is immensely complex, having evolved over a long period with many specialized structures. The study of the mind is the subject of multiple disciplines, including the behavioral and social sciences, cognitive science, neuroscience, philosophy, and the information and computer sciences. Despite many advances in our understanding, much still remains mysterious, yet to be learned. One of the mysteries concerns the nature of and distinction between those activities that are conscious and those that are not. Most of the brain s operations are subconscious, hidden beneath our awareness. It is only the highest level, what I call reflective, that is conscious. Conscious attention is necessary to learn most things, but after the initial learning, continued practice and study, sometimes for thousands of hours over a period of years, produces what psychologists call overlearning, Once skills have been overlearned, performance appears to be effortless, done automatically, with little or no awareness. For example, answer these questions: What is the phone number of a friend? What is Beethoven s phone number? What is the capital of: Brazil?
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Wales? The United States? Estonia? Think about how you answered these questions. The answers you knew come immediately to mind, but with no awareness of how that happened. You simply know the answer. Even the ones you got wrong came to mind without any awareness. You might have been aware of some doubt, but not of how the name entered your consciousness. As for the countries for which you didn t 46 The Design of Everyday Things
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