08 August 2011

"The Man Who Lied to His Laptop" by Clifford Nass

This book is an impressive collection of insights and studies gleaned by a consultant and professor over a long, long time. Most of the studies use some sort technological interaction to explore a human relational question (computers are a lot easier to control that people). For example, one studied compared how well happy or sad people worked with computers that were happy or sad (happy people prefer working with the happy computers while sad people prefer working with sad computers). Much like "The Shallows" by Nicholas Carr and "Switch" by Chip and Dan Heath, this books is a good read and then good again for reference because there are so many good studies presented.

Interesting tidbit: negative experiences cause "retroactive interference" to our memories; we have a hard time remembering what happened immediately before the bad experience. After the negative experience, however, our memories are increased beyond normal clarity. This is why often survivors of a bad accident cannot remember what caused it but can tell you, in great detail, everything that happened immediately after it.

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