Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/Perception: Needs biological considerations of human

The book ‘HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks (Carroll, J. M., 2003)’ discussed many design guidelines based on perception which assumed to be relatively permanent and are often accepted across different cultural. Perception often influenced greatly by external design. Display design such as low contrast, clutter, disorganized layout, unnecessary detail, ineffective color combinations, absence of saliency, lack of differentiation between foreground and background can impact human perception. However in the book ‘HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks (Carroll, J. M., 2003)’ failed to include some biological factors that influence perception such as lower cognitive abilities in old age and gender variability. Old age often considered major impediment as it diminishes sensory receptivity and cognitive capacity. Studies confirmed that emotional perceptions differs in old and the young age. A research by National Institute of Health suggests “older adults perceived pictures differently than younger adults. Older adult rated positive pictures as more arousing than negative or neutral pictures, and more arousing than younger adults (Neiss, M. B., Leigland, L. A., Carlson, N. E., & Janowsky, J. S., 2009).” The same research also found gender bias in women as “they rated positive pictures more positively and negative pictures more negatively.”

Several researches also offer support for impact of gender differences on human perception. A research by Dae-Young Kim, Xinran Y. Lehto, Alastair M. Morrison suggested that males and females differ in their attitudes toward web travel information sources and information search behavior in on and offline sources. It also explored the underlying cognitive dimensions of website information attitudes and preferences, and assessed gender differences within the context of these dimensions. They found significant differences between genders on perception of Website functionality and online information search behavior. This research suggests that even though most websites may be gender-neutrally designed, women are better off using them both in terms of functionality and scope of content than men. To be successful in the current competitive e-environment it would be a prudent choice to create gender specific websites.

Another research by Diane F. Halpern and Mary L. LaMay explains male and female do not differ in intellect however their cognitive abilities are different. Males have an upper hand in spatial perception, mental rotation, spatial visualization, mathematical reasoning and generation and maintenance of spatial image. On the other hand females are good at recovering information from long-term memory and using verbal information. This suggests that there is no segregation of genders based on smartness; they simply differ in different areas of expertise in cognitive function. Therefore study of human perception should also include biological factors like age and gender.


    1. Carroll, J. M. (2003). HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
    2. Neiss, M. B., Leigland, L. A., Carlson, N. E., & Janowsky, J. S. (2009). Age differences in perception and awareness of emotion. Neurobiology of Aging,30(8), 1305–1313. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2007.11.007
    3. Dae-Young Kim, Xinran Y. Lehto, Alastair M. Morrison, (2007). “Gender differences in online travel information search: Implications for marketing communications on the Internet”. Tourism Management 28;423–433.
    4. Diane F. Halpern and Mary L. LaMay, (2000) “The Smarter Sex: A Critical Review of Sex Differences in Intelligence.” Educational Psychology Review, Vol. 12, No. 2.