From TVs to phones: A comparison of adults' mental models of computers in 1999 and 2009

Valerie K. Sims, Matthew G. Chin, Anne M. Sinatra, Heather C. Lum, Anthony Selkowitz, Carrie E. Murphy, Kristin E. Oleson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The mental models that participants had about the common technological device of a computer were examined in 1999 and 2009. The participants were prompted with the question "What is like a computer?" in order to generate analogies that were used to access their mental models. Results indicated that more analogies were generated in 1999 rather than 2009. In addition there was a reduction in the amount of analogies generated by males. The top popular analogies produced in 1999 and 2009 were found to be different. These results suggest that the general knowledge base people have about computers has shifted in the past decade. Further, the individual differences that one has may impact their beliefs and knowledge about computers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 55th Annual Meeting, HFES 2011
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2011
Event55th Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, HFES 2011 - Las Vegas, NV, United States
Duration: Sep 19 2011Sep 23 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
ISSN (Print)1071-1813


Other55th Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, HFES 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLas Vegas, NV

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics

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