In that case it ought to display the range or if only

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times. In that case it ought to display the range, or if only a single value is desirable, show the slowest, longest value. That way, the expectations are liable to be exceeded, leading to a happy result. When it is difficult to determine the cause of a difficulty, where do people put the blame? Often people will use their own conceptual models of the world to determine the perceived causal relationship between the thing being blamed and the result. The word perceived is critical: the causal relationship does not have to exist; the person simply has to think it is there. Sometimes the result is to attribute cause to things that had nothing to do with the action. Suppose I try to use an everyday thing, but I can t. Who is at fault: me or the thing? We are apt to blame ourselves, especially if others are able to use it. Suppose the fault really lies in the device, so that lots of people have the same problems. Because everyone perceives the fault to be his or her own, nobody wants to admit
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to having trouble. This creates a conspiracy of silence, where the feelings of guilt and helplessness among people are kept hidden. Interestingly enough, the common tendency to blame ourselves for failures with everyday objects goes against the normal attributions we make about ourselves and others. Everyone sometimes acts in a way that seems strange, bizarre, or simply wrong and inappropriate. When we do this, we tend to attribute our behavior to the environment. When we see others do it, we tend to attribute it to their personalities. Here is a made-up example. Consider Tom, the office terror. Today, Tom got to work late, yelled at his colleagues because the office coffee machine was empty, then ran to his office and slammed the door shut. Ah, his colleagues and staff say to one another, there he goes again. Now consider Tom s point of view. I really had a hard day, Tom explains. I woke up late because my alarm clock failed to go off: I didn t even have time for my morning coffee. Then I couldn t find a parking spot because I was late. And there wasn t any coffee in the office machine; it was all out. None of this was my fault I had a run of really bad events. Yes, I was a bit curt, but who wouldn t be under the same circumstances? 62 The Design of Everyday Things Tom s colleagues don t have access to his inner thoughts or to his morning s activities. All they see is that Tom yelled at them simply because the office coffee machine was empty. This reminds them of another similar event. He does that all the time, they conclude, always blowing up over the most minor things. Who is correct? Tom or his colleagues? The events can be seen from two different points of view with two different interpretations: common responses to the trials of life or the result of an explosive, irascible personality.
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