When mental models go wrong. Co-occurrences in dynamic, critical systems

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  2. Dr Denis Besnard
  3. Dr David Greathead
Author(s)Besnard D, Greathead D
Publication type Report
Series TitleSchool of Computing Science Technical Report Series
Source Publication DateMarch 2003
Report Number791
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This short paper is intended to highlight an interesting psychological phenomenon affecting the accuracy of mental models. It occurs when two events happen as expected by an operator but for reasons that are actually not understood. In other words, a mental model of a problem is erroneously taken to be valid as a result of a mere co-occurrence. We discuss this phenomenon with the example of a real commercial air crash. We finally address some implications for systems’ design and support tools.
InstitutionSchool of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Place PublishedNewcastle upon Tyne
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