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Mill of the Mind In ARTnews!

Our Mill of the Mind project, in which Sims are subjected to the deprivations of the Milgram experiment, got a mention in ARTnews. Awesome!

Design and Psychology Presentation

Attached below is my final presentation PDF for the Design and Psychology class. My experiment was to review how users interacted with Psiphon and to see how anxiety may have affected their performance on a simple interface task.

Flow in the Snow

So I had my first cross-country skiing attempt yesterday. Fun. Painful and humiliating. Lots of falling. But fun!

One thing I discovered was that the entire aim of the sport is to maximize efficiency. I'm oddly drawn to that aspect--the less energy you spend, per unit distance traveled, the better you are. There's a nerdy quality to that that's hard to not like.

And this led to my other observation. As I got more and more weary, I started trying to achieve the right kind of form, within the limits of my remaining muscle control. And I think that my greatest "flow" moments occurred when I was flat out exhausted. I totally gave up on thinking and just started to get the glide going.

Meetings make us dumber, study shows

Meetings make us dumber, study shows - LiveScience - MSNBC.com - I knew it! [My del.icio.us]

Yes, it's true. Meetings make us dumb. Or, at least, less creative. And yet, we're a collaborative species. So, what's the best way to combine work and still keep people's creative instincts intact? That answer to that is probably worth several million dollars.


  • Emotional Design
    • Morning beverages
      • Emotions behind making espresso
      • vs. instant coffee
      • why do we take milk or not in or coffee


  • Coffee
    • Grind and brew from Cuisanart
      • Felt deceived/hard to clean
    • Bought Espresso machine from Williams Sonoma
      • 10x the price

Education and Efficacy: Teaching Comp Sci to Designers

Once again, Kelcey has been tremendously helpful with psychology texts. I've been looking over some of the literature she gave me, and I've found some interesting new facts. One of the key factors in predicting whether students will continue with computer education is whether they feel they have the ability to control the computer. This ability may be pegged to experience, but there is no direct correlation between prior experience and willingness to continue learning about computers. Feelings of comfort in using computers (self-efficacy) are a much better predictor.

This leads me to think that the important part of teaching new students, or students coming from fields not related to computer science, is to give them immediate feelings of control over what the computer does--that this is far more important than having them be competent with computers. The more assured they are that they can overcome a technical obstacle they once thought to be impossible, relative to their ability, the more likely they will be to pursue this work in the future.


  • Readings
    • Emotional Design
      • by Donald Norman
        • Also wrote Design of Everyday Things
        • which was originally called The Psych. of Everyday Things

Class Notes

Notes from this class.

Design and Psychology

This is my work for the Design and Psychology class in the spring of 2007.

Copyright Mike Edwards 2006-2009. All content available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, unless otherwise noted.

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