Softening Up Hard Science: Reply to Newell and Card

  • John M. Carroll
  • Robert L. Campbell


A source of intellectual overhead periodically encountered by scientists is the call to be “hard”, to insure good science by imposing severe methodological strictures. Newell and Card (1985) have undertaken to impose such strictures on the psychology of human-computer interaction. Although their discussion contributes to theoretical debate in human-computer interaction by setting a reference point, their specific argument fails. Their program is unmotivated, is severely limited, and suffers from these limitations in principle. A top priority for the psychology of human-computer interaction should be the articulation of an alternative explanatory program, one that takes as its starting point the need to understand the real problems involved in providing better computer tools for people to use.


Computer Science Human Factor Rapid Prototype Task Analysis Interface Design 
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.


  1. Anderson, J. R., 1983, The Architecture of Cognition, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, J. R., and Reiser, B. J., 1985, “The LISP Tutor”, Byte, 10, (4), pp. 159–175.Google Scholar
  3. Andreski, S., 1973, Social Sciences as Sorcery, St. Martin’s, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Bickhard, M. H., Cooper, R. G., Jr., and Mace, P. G., 1985, “Vestiges of Logical Positivism: Critiques of Stage Explanations”, Human Development, 28, pp. 240–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boies, S. J., Gould, J. D., Levy, S., Richards, J. T., and Schoonard, J., 1985, The 1984 Olympic Message System -- A Case Study in System Design, IBM Research Report RC 11138.Google Scholar
  6. Brown, J. S., and Burton, R. R., 1978, “Diagnostic Models for Procedural Bugs in Basic Mathematical Skills”, Cognitive Science, 2, pp. 155–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buxton, W., 1986, “There’s More to Interaction Than Meets the Eye: Some Issues in Manual Input”, User-Centered System Design, Norman, D. A., and Draper, S. W., eds., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 319–337.Google Scholar
  8. Campbell, R. L., and Bickhard, M. H., 1986, Knowing Levels and Development Stages, S. Karger, Basel.Google Scholar
  9. Card, S. K., Moran, T. P., and Newell, A., 1983, The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.Google Scholar
  10. Carnap, R., 1974, The Logical Construction of the World and Pseudoproblems of Philosophy, University of California Press (Originally Published in 1928), Berkeley, CA.Google Scholar
  11. Carroll, J. M., 1982, “Learning, Using, and Designing Command Paradigms”, Human Learning, 1, pp. 31–62.Google Scholar
  12. Carroll, J. M., ed., 1986, Interfacing Thought: Cognitive Aspects of Human-Computer Interaction, Bradford/MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  13. Carroll, J. M., and Mazur, S. A., 1985, Lisa Learning, IBM Research Report RC 11427, In press, IEEE Computer.Google Scholar
  14. Carroll, J. M., and McKendree, J. E., 1986, Interface Design Issues for Advice-Giving Expert Systems, IBM Research Report.Google Scholar
  15. Carroll, J. M., and Rosson, M. B., 1985, “Usability Specifications as a Tool in Iterative Development”, Advances in Human-Computer Interaction, 1, Hartson, H. R., ed., Ablex, Norwood, NJ, pp. 1–28.Google Scholar
  16. Chomsky, N. A., 1959, “Review of B. F. Skinner’s ‘Verbal Behavior’ ”, Language, 35, pp. 26–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Denes, P., and Pinson, E.N., 1973, The Speech Chain, Anchor Books, Garden City, NY.Google Scholar
  18. Draper, S. W., 1985, “The Nature of Expertise in UNIX”, Human-Computer Interaction – Interact ‘84, Schackel, ed., North Holland, New York, pp. 465–472.Google Scholar
  19. Dreyfus, H., 1953, Designing for People, Simon and Schuster, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Goldstein, I. P., 1982, “The Genetic Graph: A Representation for the Evolution of Procedural Knowledge”, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Sleeman, D., and Brown, J. S., eds., Academic Press, New York, pp. 51–77.Google Scholar
  21. Good, M. D., Whiteside, J. A., Wixon, D. R., and Jones, S. A., 1984,”Building a User-Derived Interface”, Communications of the ACM, 27, pp. 1032–1043.Google Scholar
  22. Guessarian, I., 1981, Algebraic Semantics, Springer-Verlag, New York.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hempel, C. G., 1965, Aspects of Scientific Explanation, Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Jeffries, R., Turner, A., Poison, P., and Atwood, M., 1981, “The Processes Involved in Designing Software”, Cognitive Skills and Their Acquisition, Anderson, J., ed., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ.Google Scholar
  25. Kelley, J. F., 1984, “An Iterative Design Methodology for User-Friendly Natural Language Office Information Applications”, ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems, 2, pp. 26–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Laudan, L., 1977, Progress and Its Problems, University of California Press, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  27. Miller, G. A., Galanter, E., and Pribram, K. H., 1960, Plans and the Structure Behavior, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York.Google Scholar
  28. Newell, A., and Card, S. K., 1985, “The Prospects for Psychological Science in Human-Computer Interaction”, Human-Computer Interaction, 1, pp. 209–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Newell, A., and Simon, H., 1972, Human Problem Solving, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.Google Scholar
  30. Norman, D. A., 1981, “Categorization of Action Slips”, Psychological Review, 88, pp. 1–15.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Norman, D. A., 1986, “Cognitive Science -- Cognitive Engineering”, Interfacing Thought: Cognitive Aspects of Human-Computer Interaction, Carroll, J. M., ed., MIT Press, Bradford.Google Scholar
  32. Pew, R. W., and Baron, S., 1978, “The Components of an Information Processing Theory of Skilled Performance Based on an Optimal Control Perspective”, Information Processing in Motor Control and Learning, Stelmach, G. E., ed., Academic Press, New York, pp. 71–78.Google Scholar
  33. Pew, R. W., and Baron, S., 1983, “Perspectives on Human Performance Modeling”, Automatica, 19, pp. 663–676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Polson, P., 1986, “A Quantitative Theory of Human-Computer Interaction”, Interfacing Thought: Cognitive Aspects of Human-Computer Interaction, Carroll, J. M., ed., MIT Press, Bradford.Google Scholar
  35. Richards, J. T., Boies, S. J., and Gould, J. D., 1986, “Rapid Prototyping and System Design: Examination of a Toolkit for Voice and Telephony Applications”, Proceedings of CHI ‘86 Conference on Human Factors of Computer Systems, ACM, New York, pp. 216–220.Google Scholar
  36. Roberts, T. L., and Moran, T. P., 1983, “The Evaluation of Text Editors: Methodology and Empirical Results”, Communications of the ACM, 26, pp. 265–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Robertson, S. P., 1983, Goal, Plan, and Outcome Tracking in Computer Text-Editing Performance, Cognitive Science Technical Report 25, Yale University Ph.D. Dissertation.Google Scholar
  38. Rosson, M. B., 1983, “Patterns of Experience in Text Editing”, Proceedings of CHI ‘83 Conference on Human Factors of Computer Systems, pp. 171–175.Google Scholar
  39. Rumelhart, D. E., and McClelland, J. L., 1986, Parallel Distributed Processing: Explorations in the Microstructure of Cognition, Volume 1: Foundations, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  40. Shapere, D., 1977, “Scientific Theories and Their Domains”, The Structure of Scientific Theories, Suppe, F., ed., 2nd ed., University of Illinois Press, Urbana, pp. 518–565.Google Scholar
  41. Shneiderman, B., 1984, “Review: The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction”, Datamation, 30, January 1984, pp. 236–237.Google Scholar
  42. Simon, H. A., 1973, “The Structure of Ill-Structured Problems”, Artificial Intelligence,4, pp. 181–201.Google Scholar
  43. Smith, K. U., and Smith, W. M., 1962, Perception and Motion: An Analysis of Space Structured Behavior, W. B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  44. Smith, S. L., and Mosier, J. W., 1984, Design Guidelines for User-System Interface Software, Technical Report No. MTR-9420, MITRE Corporation, Bedford, MA.Google Scholar
  45. Suppe, F., 1977, “The Search for Philosophic Understanding of Scientific Theories”, The Structure of Scientific Theories, 2nd ed., University of Illinois Press, Urbana, ILL, pp. 3–254.Google Scholar
  46. von Mises, L., 1966, Human Action, 3rd ed., Regnery, Chicago, ILL.Google Scholar
  47. Whiteside, J. A., and Eixon, D. R., 1986, “Improving Human-Computer Interaction: A Quest for Cognitive Science”, Interfacing Thought: Cognitive Aspects of Human-Computer Interaction, Carroll, J. M., ed., Bradford/MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  48. Winograd, T., and Flores, F., 1986, Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design, Ablex, Norwood, NJ.MATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Carroll
    • 1
  • Robert L. Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.User Interface InstituteIBM Thomas J. Watson Research CenterYorktown HeightsUSA

Personalised recommendations