User-hostile systems and patterns of psychophysiological activity

Muter, Paul and Furedy, J.J. and Vincent, A. and Pelcowitz, T. (1993) User-hostile systems and patterns of psychophysiological activity. [Journal (Paginated)]

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Psychophysiological measures, which are not contaminated by demand characteristics, are potentially useful for improving systems and for examining psychological processes in human-computer interaction. In this study we report the use of minute-by-minute scored heart-rate (HR) and skin-conductance level (SCL) in a 25-subject experiment. Each subject was presented with two simulated bank-transaction tasks, one user-friendly and the other user-hostile. To check whether any differences were due simply to sheer difficulty, easy (forward digit-span) and hard (backward digit-span) memory tasks were presented to all subjects. The HR was higher during the computer (problem-solving) tasks than the memory tasks, but was unaffected by task difficulty, whereas SCL was uniquely elevated during the hard (user-hostile) computer task. The HR result is interpreted as reflecting parasympathetic withdrawal, while the SCL result suggests that the user-hostile software produced sympathetic excitation of the sort associated with the fight-or-flight reaction. SCL may serve as a good measure of user-friendliness.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:usability, psychophysiology
Subjects:Computer Science > Human Computer Interaction
ID Code:4429
Deposited By: Muter, Prof. Paul
Deposited On:30 Jun 2005
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:56

References in Article

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