HFS trip report for CSG Net only

[From Rick Marken (931018.1300)]

Gary Cziko (931018.1325 GMT) -

Rick Marken (931017.2000) reported

Too bad you didn't visit Behavioral Illusion Valley, where events on one
side of the valley are mirrored by events on the other side of the valley
while nothing much changes on the valley floor.

I wish I were with you, Cziko. You know all the great spots.

Actually, there really IS a "Deception Pass" and a "Useless Bay".
Would I kid you?

Can you say some more of your interaction with people at the Human Factors

What, and end my marriage?

Actually, it would take too long to describe all the dialogs I had that
led to my impression that Human Factors has no serious interest in
looking at people as perceptual control systems. But here's one quick
example: The developer of an air traffic control demo display could not
seem to understand my view of the air traffic controller as a person
who is trying to keep perceptions of the representations of the planes
in reference states; he looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if
the demo allowed the air controller to influence the display; it was
clear that he was thinking of the display as the cause of the air
controllers' behavior.

I talked to a couple of people familiar with control theory who
thought it was "old hat" (being in a friendly mood I never asked
why). My sense was that whenever I started to veer onto "contro-
versial" topics (like the irrelevance of group statistics to
individual behavior processes, the need for working models, the
fact that display variables are both a cause AND a result of action)
there was subtle resistance -- a raised eyebrow, a comfortable
chortle, a changed topic, etc. I was not in the mood to educate
OR fight so I just didn't push these points -- and I had a real
nice time (I felt just like your basic non-Nazi German in 1940s
Berlin -- I just didn't want to make waves).

Did you present a paper?


Did you learn anything of use at the meeting?

As far as my employer is concerned -- yes.

Why did you go?

In support of a program here at Aerospace that is looking into
advanced HCI technologies for satellite control. I was as surprised
as anyone that they would send me to the meeting, paper or no,
but that's part of the charter of this program. I hope they'll
send me to a CSG meeting next year.

How do people in this field believe that they are making progress?

The same way all of the behavioral sciences believe they are
making progress -- by obtaining new statistical results and by
using words from trendy new theories to explain them.