The role of mental models in programming: From experiments to requirements for an interactive system

  • D. Ackermann
  • J. Stelovsky
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 282)


We will outline some basic psychological aspects in the process of programming and discuss them in a first case study showing different developments of mental models. We will exemplify the role of visualization for the support of mental models, working memory and knowledge structure and consequent thinking. In a second case study we will demonstrate the possibility of graphical representation of command language with predefined syntax but semantic flexibility.


Mental Model Interactive System Cognitive Style Cognitive Complexity Command Language 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

6. Literature

  1. Ackermann, D.: Robi Otter oder die Suche nach dem operativen Abbildsystem. Interner Bericht der Studienarbeiten im SS 1983.Google Scholar
  2. Ackermann, D.: Untersuchungen zum individualisierten Computerdialog: Einfluss des Operativen Abbildsystems auf Handlungs-und Gestaltungsspielraum und die Arbeitseffizienz. In: Dirlich, G., Feksa, C., Schwatlo, U. & Wimmer, K. (Hrsg): Kognitive Aspekte der Mensch-Computer-Interaktion. Ergebnisse eines Workshops vom 12./13. April 1984 in München. Berlin: Springer, 1986a.Google Scholar
  3. Ackermann, D.: A pilot study on the effects of individualization in man-computer-interaction. 2nd IFAC/IFIP/IFORS/IEA Conference on Analysis, Design and Evaluation of man-machine-studies. Varese, September 1985. London: Pergamon Press, 1986b.Google Scholar
  4. Ackermann, D., Stelovsky J.: Action regulation and the task related mental model in human-computer interaction: How does the action grammar reflect the dialog grammar? 3rd European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics, Paris September 1986.Google Scholar
  5. Goldstein, K. M. & Blackman, S.: Cognitive Style: Five approaches and relevant research. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1978.Google Scholar
  6. Hacker, W.: Allgemeine Arbeits-und Ingenieurpsychologie. Bern: Huber, 1978.Google Scholar
  7. Hayes P.: A panel on the utility of natural language interfaces. CHI 85 Proc., San Francisco 1985, p19.Google Scholar
  8. Krause, B.: Semantic information processing in cognitive processes. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 1982, 190, 37–45.Google Scholar
  9. Krause, W.: Problemlösen — Stand und Perspektiven. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 1982, 190, 18–36 und 141–169.Google Scholar
  10. Oschanin, D. A.: Dynamisches operatives Abbildsystem und konzeptionelles Modell. Probleme und Ergebnisse der Psychologie, 1976,59,37–48.Google Scholar
  11. McCabe, T. J.: A complexity measure. IEEE Transactions on software engineering. 1976,SE-2(4), 308–320.Google Scholar
  12. Norman, D.A.: The Trouble with UNIX. Datamation, Nov. 1981, 135–150.Google Scholar
  13. Schank, R. & Abelson, R.: Scripts, Plans, Goals and Understanding. Hillsdale, N.Y.: L. Erlbaum, 1977.Google Scholar
  14. Smith, D.C., Harslem, E., Irby, C., Kimball, R., Verplank, B.: Designing the Star User Interface. Byte, Vol. 7, No. 4, April 1982, 242–282.Google Scholar
  15. Stelovsky, J.: XS-2: The User Interface of an Interactive System. Disseration No 7425 ETH Zurich, 1984.Google Scholar
  16. Stelovsky, J.: User — Tailored Dialog — Just a Slogan? Proceedings 8th International Computing Symposium, Florence March 1985, 345–352. Amsterdam: North Holland, 1985.Google Scholar
  17. Triebe, J. K.: Aspekte beruflichen Handelns und Lernens. Eine Feld-und Längsschnittuntersuchung zu ausgewählten Merkmalen der Struktur und Genese von Handlungsstrategien bei einer Montagetätigkeit. Unpublished Disseration, University of Bern, 1980.Google Scholar
  18. Ulich, E.: Ueber das Prinzip der differentiellen Arbeitsgestaltung. Industrielle Organisation. 1978, 47, 281–286.Google Scholar
  19. Ulich, E.: Arbeitspsychologische Konzepte für Computerunterstützte Büroarbeit. Spektrum 14, 1985.Google Scholar
  20. Wirth, N.: Systematisches Programmieren. Stuttgart: Teubner, 1975.Google Scholar
  21. We thank Prof. Dr. E. Ulich for his helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Ackermann
    • 1
  • J. Stelovsky
    • 2
  1. 1.Work and Organizational Psychology UnitSwiss Federal Institute of TechnologyZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institut für Informatik (Institut for Computer Science)Swiss Federal Institute of TechnologyZürichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations