Figure 24 levels of processing and the stages of the

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FIGURE 2.4. Levels of Processing and the Stages of the Action Cycle. Visceral response is at the lowest level: the control of simple muscles and sensing the state of the world and body. The behavioral level is about expectations, so it is sensitive to the expectations of the action sequence and then the interpretations of the feedback. The reflective level is a part of the goal- and plan-setting activity as well as affected by the comparison of expectations with what has actually happened. two: The Psychology of Everyday Actions 57 People are innately disposed to look for causes of events, to form explanations and stories. That is one reason storytelling is such a persuasive medium. Stories resonate with our experiences and provide examples of new instances. From our experiences and the stories of others we tend to form generalizations about the way people behave and things work. We attribute causes to events, and as long as these cause-and-effect pairings make sense, we accept them and use them for understanding future events. Yet these causal attributions are often erroneous. Sometimes they implicate the wrong causes, and for some things that happen, there is no single cause; rather, a complex chain of events that all contribute to the result: if any one of the events would not have occurred, the result would be different. But even when there is no single causal act, that doesn t stop people from assigning one. Conceptual models are a form of story, resulting from our predisposition to find explanations. These models are essential in helping us understand our experiences, predict the outcome of our actions, and handle unexpected occurrences. We base our models on whatever knowledge we have, real or imaginary, naive or sophisticated. Conceptual models are often constructed from fragmentary evidence, with only a poor understanding of what is happening, and with a kind of naive psychology that postulates causes, mechanisms, and relationships even where there are none. Some faulty models lead to the frustrations of everyday life, as in the case of my unsettable refrigerator, where my conceptual model of its operation (see again Figure 1.10A) did not correspond to reality (Figure
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1.10B). Far more serious are faulty models of such complex systems as an industrial plant or passenger airplane. Misunderstanding there can lead to devastating accidents. Consider the thermostat that controls room heating and cooling systems. How does it work? The average thermostat offers almost no evidence of its operation except in a highly roundabout manner. All we know is that if the room is too cold, we set a higher temperature into the thermostat. Eventually we feel warmer. Note that the same thing applies to the temperature control for almost any device whose temperature is to be regulated. Want to bake a 58 The Design of Everyday Things cake? Set the oven thermostat and the oven goes to the desired temperature.
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