Professor Konrad Morgan, Head of the Institute of Information Sciences at the University of Bergen presented a seminar at WIT on the "Psychological Aspects of Information Sciences".
Konrad graduated at Portsmouth University with a BSc in Computer Sciences and proceeded to complete a PhD in Human Computer Interaction at Edinburgh University . He was a Senior Lecturer at Portsmouth University and held different appointments in other Institutions before his current position as Professor at the University of Bergen.
The speaker discussed some of the psychological effects associated with the increasing capabilities of new technology in its particular emphasis on issues involved with multi-media systems and the development of the self on emotional, intellectual and social levels. It included a review of technology attitudes and individual differences in relation to the voluntary use of technology and contends that with the psychological effects associated with the rejection of technology.
Morgan also commented on the topic of Computer Addiction, ie people who prefer computing to 'normal' social interaction, and show an obsessive computer based working practice.
He referred to his research into computer attitudes. Previous experience with computers played an important part in computer attitudes and mechanical competence appears to be correlated with computer anxiety. The literature also suggests that the problem of computer anxiety is related to mathematical anxiety.
Individual differences are equally important to usability and an understanding of the psychological factors associated with success leads to understanding the need for computer systems to reinforce positive aspects so that the user performs better.
There is a growing awareness of the fact that the design of the interface or technology affects identity. Normality is defined by the technology we create. Design decisions such as screen font sizes and keypad sensitivity may define whole segments of previously 'normal' people as being handicapped or lacking in some vital sense.
The talk stimulated a lively discussion from the audience, many of them involved in developing new software and web pages.