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18 AUGUST 2013

Thinking aloud: a method for systematically collecting and analysing data about the design process

"Suppose that you want to understand the design process of architects, the knowledge that they use, the cognitive actions that they take and the strategies they employ. How would you go about this? One obvious possibility is to ask some architects how they design a building. Interestingly enough, they will not find this an easy question to answer. They are used to do their job, not to explain it. If they do try to tell you how they go about their design work, it is quite possible that their account of it will be incomplete or even incorrect, because they construct this account from memory. They may be inclined to describe the design process neatly in terms of the formal design methods that they acquired during their professional training, whereas the real design process deviates from these methods. Psychologists have demonstrated that such accounts are not very reliable. Another possibility is to look at the architects' designs and at their intermediate sketches. However, now you are looking at the products of the thought processes of these architects, and not at the thought processes themselves. What is needed are more direct data on the ongoing thinking processes during working on a design. If you want to know how they arrive at their designs, what they think, what is difficult for them and what is easy, how they reconcile conflicting demands, a different research method is needed.

A good method in this situation is to ask architects to work on a design and to instruct them to think aloud. What they say is recorded and used as data for analysis of the design process. This is a very direct method to gain insight in the knowledge and methods of human problem–solving. The speech and writings are called spoken and written protocols. In this book we will describe a method for systematically collecting and analysing such think aloud protocols. This method can be used by psychologists and other social scientists who want to know more about cognitive processes. It is also an important method for knowledge engineers whose goal is to build a knowledgebased computer system on the basis of human expertise."

(Maarten W. van Someren, Yvonne F. Barnard, et al., 1994, pp.1–2)

Maarten W. van Someren, Yvonne F. Barnard and Jacobijn A.C. Sandberg. (1994). "The Think Aloud Method: A Practical Guide to Modelling Cognitive Processes".

TAGS

academic researchanalysing dataarchitectural thoughtcognitive actionscognitive processescognitive psychologycognitive sciencecognitive theoriesconceptual modeldata collection and analysisdata collection techniquesdesign knowledgedesign process • design strategies • design workdirect observationexperimental knowledgeformal design methods • human expertise • knowledge engineer • knowledge-based systems • problem-solvingpsychological analysispsychological modelsresearch methodsketching ideas • social scientists • spoken protocols • task analysis • testing theories • theoretical model • think aloud (research method) • think aloud protocols • thinking processthought process • unreliable evidence • user testinguser-based evaluation • written protocols

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 SEPTEMBER 2012

The mathematics of Hollywood blockbuster

HOLLYWOOD'S golden age may have ended in the 1950s, but it is only recently that Tinseltown appears to have hit upon a mathematical way to capitalise on our fickle attention spans.

"Film–makers have got better and better at constructing shots so that their lengths grab our attention," says James Cutting, a psychologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He analysed 150 Hollywood movies and found that the more recent they were, the more closely their shot lengths tended to follow a mathematical pattern that also describes human attention spans.

In the 1990s, a team at the University of Texas, Austin, measured the attention spans of volunteers as they performed hundreds of consecutive trials. When they turned these measurements into a series of waves using a mathematical trick called a Fourier transform, the waves increased in magnitude as their frequency decreased.

(Ewen Callaway, 18 February 2010, New Scientist)

TAGS

1/f law1950s • a series of waves • algorithmalgorithmic filters • attention spans • consecutive trials • constructing shots • Cornell University • decreased frequency • filmmaker • Fourier transform • golden agegrab our attentionHollywoodHollywood movies • human attention spans • increased magnitude • James Cutting • mathematical algorithm • mathematical patternmeasurementneurocinematicsNew Scientist • our fickle attention spans • psychological analysispsychological perceptionpsychological sciencepsychology • shot lengths • Tinseltown • University of Texas

CONTRIBUTOR

Tessa Szwarnowska
18 JUNE 2011

MediaArtTube Exhibition 1.0: Biofeedback Art

"Biofeedback art is recently emerged interactive art form which applies technologies to capture biological changes of the body and create an artistic meaning through them. Biofeedback interfaces measures EEG, galvanic skin response, facial analysis, temperature analysis, eye–tracking or hearth rate in order to monitor the users bio–philosophical and produce a dynamic psychological/behavioural/emotion–based analysis of the person. The artistic meaning production based on the applications of these qualities which often deals with embodiment, enaction, body awareness, immersion or active/passive bodily engagement. There are a variety of tools can be used by artists which are usually divided to contact (for example EEG) or non–contact (facial analysis through camera). The MediaArtTube Exhibition 1.0 presents a collection of engaging art works and experiments in this hot topic of media art."

(MediaArtTube)

Fig.1 Brainloop interactive performance platform http://www.aksioma.org/brainloop/index.html

Fig.2 Yasushi Noguchi, Hideyuki Ando – Watch Me!, eye–responsive Installation 2009 http://r–dimension.xsrv.jp/projects_e/watch_me/

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TAGS

actuators • affective art • affective computing • affective environment • applied researchArs Electronica • art works • behavioural analysis • bio art • bio-philosophical analysis • bio-sensors • biofeedback • biofeedback art • biofeedback interfaces • biological changes • blood volume pressure • bodily engagementbodybody awareness • body data • brain • cognitive-based concept • communication devicecomputer interfaceconvergencecorrelative analoguecreative technologydata visualisationdevicedigital art • EEG • electroencephalography • electronic artembodied interactionsembodimentemotion research • emotion-based analysis • erotic ambiguity • external world • eye-trackingfacial analysis • galvanic skin response • graphic representationHCI • heartbeat • hearth rate monitor • humidity • hybrid art • immersioninformation aestheticsinteraction designinteractive artinteractive media artinteractive performanceinteractive visualisationinterface artinterface designkinetic artman machinemeasurementmedia art • MediaArtTube • micro-bio-electrochemical systems • micro-electromechanical • mobile phonenew media artpsychological analysispulse • responsive environment • robotrobot artscreen-based interface • skin conductivity • smell • stroke • sweat • tangible biofeedback • tangible interfacetechnology-based arttemperature analysis • tickle • time-based art • ventilators • vibrationvibratorvirtual realityvirtual worldvisualisation

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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