Tangible Interfaces and Errors in Reasoning

Analysis of chapter 6 Moving Toward Design from the book Where the Action is by Paul Dourish

This week was all about tangible interfaces and in my case it was about a philosophical overview of  what Paul Dourish defines as embodied interaction in his book Where the Action is. The concept of embodied interaction is a combination between tangible and social computing. Tangible computing is how to move computing interfaces to the real world and/or how to enhance real world object incorporating technological aspects to them. Social computing is the way computing systems are integrated into social systems and how people give meaning to these systems depending on the social setting they are.

The following mind map is a compilation of the key concepts in chapter 6 – Moving Toward Design where Dourish tries to connect embodied interaction theory with design of new systems through a set of design principles that portray a variety of settings in which the embodied interaction approach is applied.


Errors in Reasoning

During class we continued to analyze the different types of reasoning processes. Last Friday we talked how easy is to commit errors in reasoning while writing and how to avoid them:

1. Dangers of a mindset.
Humans are ‘seeking pattern’ beings, it makes our lives easier. Personal experiences influence the development of our beliefs and values, which are the foundation of thinking patterns that guide the way we react to specific situations — also defined as mindset. A mindset is useful to help us get through the day but it can be counterproductive when it gets into a point where we see and hear what we want to and  we select facts that reinforce our ideas.
– Examine assumptions.
– Play devil’s advocate — try to become an external observer for a moment.

2. Jumping to conclusions. This happens when we don’t have all the facts and we are closed to new facts; create judgements based on circumstantial evidence because we didn’t see it happen and don’t know why it happened.
– Assume benevolence.
– Ask open questions.
– Have the courage to be wrong.

3. Misconceptions. Confusing the meaning of a relational word such as average. Are based on stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination. It is try to decide whether the glass is half full or half empty.
– Define terms accurately — sometimes definitions are too broad.
– Support conclusions with direct facts not inferences.

4. Wrong generalizations. The problem of generalizations is that there are too many exceptions to the rule. It is a biased selection of information. It is easy to fall into over generalizations — apply a generalization beyond its proper limits and likely will produce wrong conclusions.
– Define limitations (specify the scope).
– Contextualize statements.

5. Mistaking evidence for proof.Take generalized facts as the absolute truth. Beliefs become self fulfilling prophecies. We have to take into consideration that testimonies are not reliable because memories for witnessed events are highly flexible. A study performed by Loftus and Palmer (Reconstruction of Automobile Destruction: An Example of the Interaction Between Language and Memory) shows us how language can influence ‘memory accuracy’.
– Identify exceptions.
– Evidence must be overwhelming.

6. Circular reasoning. Is the rephrase of a statement you are trying to prove using a similar statement as proof for the original. The use of the word because makes this type of argument seem as if we were saying why.
– ‘5 why’s activity’ Start with one question of shy and look for five reasons to look for a deeper meaning.
– List multiple effects. Helps to establish a purpose.

7. False analogies. If two things are similar in one way, they may also be similar in other ways. A maybe gets converted into is. It is common to build strategies based on analogies by omitting important differences. We have to keep in mind that an analogy is only an hypothesis, a way to interpret a new situation; most of the time proverbs appear to be sage advice, but can support any side such in ‘make hay while the sun shines’ advising us to buy and ‘haste makes waste’ suggesting not to buy if it is not necessary.
– Identify assumptions.
– Identify concrete similarities and use these for guidance and apply them to the new situation.

 8.Misusing statistics. The use of information to argue for special interests avoiding the inclusion of outliers or discounted and not giving a clear indication of the distribution of the numbers.
– Learn basic statistical principles, know the process for statistical analysis and what words mean.
– Verify the population and the methods for gathering information.

9. Relative vs Absolute. Take relative judgements and make them absolute.
– Avoid absolutes.
– Relation to multiple examples.
– Plot examples along a spectrum.

10. Extreme judgements. Black and white interpretations of a situation. Convinced beyond a shadow of doubt and seeking for justice and/or revenge.
– Investigate the backstory.
– See the situation from multiple sides — be open to the gray area.
– Practice compassion.