Formal Aspects of Computing

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 513–550

An approach to formal verification of human–computer interaction


  • Paul Curzon
    • Department of Computer Science, Queen MaryUniversity of London
    • Department of Computer Science, Queen MaryUniversity of London
  • Ann Blandford
    • University College London Interaction Centre

DOI: 10.1007/s00165-007-0035-6

Cite this article as:
Curzon, P., Rukšėnas, R. & Blandford, A. Form Asp Comp (2007) 19: 513. doi:10.1007/s00165-007-0035-6


The correct functioning of interactive computer systems depends on both the faultless operation of the device and correct human actions. In this paper, we focus on system malfunctions due to human actions. We present abstract principles that generate cognitively plausible human behaviour. These principles are then formalised in a higher-order logic as a generic, and so retargetable, cognitive architecture, based on results from cognitive psychology. We instantiate the generic cognitive architecture to obtain specific user models. These are then used in a series of case studies on the formal verification of simple interactive systems. By doing this, we demonstrate that our verification methodology can detect a variety of realistic, potentially erroneous actions, which emerge from the combination of a poorly designed device and cognitively plausible human behaviour.


Formal verificationHuman errorFormal cognitive architectureInteractive systems, Theorem proving

Copyright information

© British Computer Society 2007