Date: December 17, 1998
Erik Nilsen, Associate Professor of Psychology — Lewis & Clark College

What are you thinking right now? Consider how you formed that thought. Do you know? How could anyone know? Is the mind too complex to be understood by itself?

A Unified Theory of Cognition has been the holy grail of cognitive psychology for more than two dozen years. Such a theory would model thinking, describing how thoughts and actions are formed and implemented. It could also predict how people make sense of things like user interfaces… or at least how they try to make sense of them.

Here’s the best part: the interface itself could provide a big clue.

Erik Nilsen, is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Lewis & Clark College. He returns from sabbatical at the University of Michigan with results of two studies on mouse-and-menu selection.

Erik will describe how an eye-tracker was used to gather data about the use of ordered and random menus. He will explain how this supports—and challenges—the EPIC theory of David Kieras and David Meyer of the University of Michigan. Erik will also show how John Anderson’s ACT-R theory handles these results.

This research also settles once and for all, which OS has the best menu interaction style (Windows or Mac!)

Yeah that’s right, theories have their own homepages these days!