[14-12-2008] Online resources for the study of Psychology, Cognitive Science and other related disciplines

[21-04-2009] Card Sorting software

Extraído de varios mensajes a cadius:

From: Susana Heredia <se.pmn|anasus#se.pmn|anasus>
Subject: Re: [cadius] Card Sorting

También puedes probar la aplicación online http://websort.net/, que permite hacer un card sorting tanto abierto como cerrado (permite hacer alguna prueba gratuita).

También puedes descargarte una versión de prueba de CardZort (en cliente) para windows:

Aquí tienes además un artículo bastante completito, de Boxes and Arrows

From: David Pardo <moc.tenuroc|divad#moc.tenuroc|divad>
Puedes probar CardSword, en http://cardsword.sourceforge.net/
Es GPL y lo han dejado de mantener, pero funciona bastante bien.

Mira aquí unas para descargar:

Y esta otra es online:

These are a few on-line courses available

Berkeley SIMS (School of Information Management & Systems) - Archived Site, 2005 and 2006 courses


This seems to be a site kept for historic purposes by Berkeley (by the way much better than the current one). They keep there links to the materials given in the courses. Some of them are world class, let me comment a few:

http://www2.sims.berkeley.edu/academics/courses/is213/s06/ - SIMS 213: User Interface Design and Development
Spring 2006, Prof. Marti Hearst.

I have seen (but not downloaded) ppt's at http://www2.sims.berkeley.edu/academics/courses/is213/s06/lectures.html

And! materials to work with people (consent forms etc.) at http://www2.sims.berkeley.edu/academics/courses/is213/s06/resources.html . I have to check this!

IS 296A-4 Seminar on Research Methods: Introduction to Quantitative Methods

And the wonderful SIMS 247: Information Visualization and Presentation, Fall 2005, by Prof. Marti Hearst. He is one of the key people in this discipline, and the ppt's are superb. You can find them at the Lectures link:

Well, this is indeed a place to find surprises:

http://www2.sims.berkeley.edu/courses/is141/f05/schedule.html Search Engines: Technology, Society, and Business
SIMS 141 Lecture Schedule

MIT OpenCourseWare, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

(By the way you never truly learn to write Massachusetts, with those doble s and t)


This classification is a good example of a difficult grouping, I have spent a few minutes browsing to find what I found before. This is where I found the best info about cognitive science:


How many courses are there? 40? 50? All top-class. You do not need to travel these days to make a course.

One I began to follow is the 2004 Computational Cognitive Science course, focused a lot on knowledge representation and bayesian networks:

There are interesting topics in mathematics, like statistical learning theory (have no clue about this, but sound insteresting):

If you browse a little bit more you will find real surprises. For instance, "Managerial Psychology". What is that? The Psychology of the Managers or how to manage your psychologists? The later is a real need for some solid engineering stablishments…

And if you want to spend a few hours trying to decide what you would like to study, here is the full list:


Public domain software on data-mining and statistics



A comprehensive list of resources about statistical software:

(24/7/2008) Optical illusions

Wonderful site on optical illusions

And the best illusion for 2006, the freezing rotation

Wow! Even the introductory music is fabulous:

Susana Martínez-Conde speaks on illusions and art

(18/06/2008) Metodología de la investigación en Ciencias Comportamiento

Los apuntes de mis clases en la Universidad Complutense - Facultad de Psicología. ¡¡Un deja-view!!

This is both a process and a type of tools to create prototypes for starting and testing as quick as possible a development. This is not something original from web or software development: you would be surprised of how stablished the process is in any industrial sector. See wikipedia for rapid prototyping: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_prototyping. In the GUI-web context a rapid prototype is also known as a wireframe, in some other contexts a "mockup" (though this can be something not functional- a rapid prototype or wireframe must provide some simulation of the functionality).

In this page I will not go through the many advantages of the process in web or GUI development. I want to provide a list of tools. They are divided into three groups:

Add-ons or plugins for typical software

Visio stencil - for wireframes

Visio is one of the tools included in Microsoft Office suite. It is a generic software to create flowcharts and similar things, but works very well as a general design tool. A stencil is a set of pre-designed forms that can be dropped onto the flowchart or design.

If you google visio stencils you will find lots of links, this is one of the best for our purpose: visio stencils for information architects.

You have there a good explanation of what a stencil is. At bottom of this page you will find links to stencils and templates (scroll to resources). The one I know which is linked there is Jesse James Garret's "a little bit old" stencil. It is in his site, which contains a very good collection of what information architecture is: http://www.jjg.net/ia/visvocab/.

Direct link to download the stencil: http://www.jjg.net/ia/visvocab/files/garrett_ia_visio2000.zip

It is a free tool.

Desktop Tools



Axure is the leader tool for web prototyping. As far as we could see in one installation, it is based on MS Visio. It is an interesting tool when you want to prototype a web site quickly. It provides web components and can generate the associated code in a very quick fashion. A very effective module of this tool is the capability to export the prototype into a Word document. This, maybe together with the propietary forms, is the real advantage of paying the price instead of using the Visio stencil.

The benefits come at a price: nearly $600 per year. Renovation of licenses are $189 per year.



It is only available for Mac OS X. Comments about it in cadius are very good.

GUI Design Studio 2.4


GUI Design Studio 2.4 claims to “Create User Interface Designs And Interactive Prototypes In 3 Easy Steps Without Writing A Single Line of Code”. I have no experience on this tool. It is pricey, only a mere $100 below Axure.



An interesting idea which builds on other wireframe applications described in this page. It is actually a suite, with Justinmind Prototyper to design wireframes ("Easily create fully functional wireframes for your web, desktop and mobile applications, and reduce software project costs. Simulation engine is embedded."); Justinmind Viewer - Free ("Execute functional simulations of your application"); and Justinmind Server, to generate and annotate web wireframes.

At last I can see the buzzwords these days in software development together with rapid prototyping:
"Agile Prototyping methodology"

Tasks Sketch

Tasks Sketch - This is a UML-Based tool that focuses on linking and tracing use cases to the conceptual architecture of a system. The tool is being developed by Pedro F. Campos and Nuno J. Nunes at the University of Madeira. It seems it is only for Mac OS X.

Canon Sketch

CanonSketch is a UML-Based tool for the creation, design and editing of Canonical Abstract Prototypes and, more generally for Model-Based User Interface Design (MB-UID). The tool is being developed by Pedro F. Campos and Nuno J. Nunes at the University of Madeira. It seems it is only for Mac OS X.



The claim that "Innovative organizations use iRise to visualize business applications before they’re built to accelerate delivery, cut costs, ensure global sourcing success and drive business value". The idea seems to have two separate applications, one to build the prototypes, with a cost (could not find the price) and another one, free, for customers or users to try them.

Serena Prototype Composer

It is a free tool! Now testing it. Some requirements, but maybe from old version when I first consulted this information:

System Requirements - Microsoft Windows 2000 - Microsoft Windows XP. The products require that. NET Framework version 1.1 or later be installed on the system. In addition, the XML features of Microsoft Word 2003 are required for document generation.

On-line Tools


http://www.gliffy.com/ This is an on-line tool to create all types of diagrams, from kitchen maps to complex software applications flowcharts. It allows co-operative development.

You have to register for a free account. Please do! It is an excellent on-line tool, though I still have to see all its functionality.


http://www.jumpchart.com/ A Jumpchart is an online interactive wireframe. If you build websites for a living, you know that content organization and approval can be an overwhelming process. We've all tried flowcharts, and wireframes, html mocks… even paper. All of these suffer from crucial flaws… They're not interactive, and they carry no momentum into the build phase.

I have tried it, a quick signup process, very good looking website. However, you do not have the graphic elements which are essential to the GUI wireframes: buttons, scroll bars, pop-up messages, drop-down menus, radio buttons…

So it looks like something restricted to text-based applications. But then, what is the difference with a wiki-based site? Or is it that this is based on wiki software?


This is a sad story. This startup claimed to provide an on-line tool for designing wireframes. However, its website, simunication.com, does not work anymore. This aim is still at

A Simunication is a rapidly designed web application prototype designed online using Simunicator to enable users to visualize and test drive the application before the formal development process begins.

Simunication allows you to build prototypes on site or upload your own HTML, CSS, Flash, script and more. As it's entirely web based, you can take your work home, to the coffee shop, to the airport, wherever. Prototypes built on Simunication mimic real ones so you can engage your customers and find out what needs work. Start using Simunication by enterting use case, flows and steps. Coding skills are required for the addition of advanced behaviors, however the non-tech crowd can create basic apps to get things started. As Simunications are based on real web apps they can be used for user verification and feedback, for mashups, for brainstorming, and even for raising capital from VC's.


http://www.mindomo.com/ Mind Mapping Software freely accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Further information

Some more information that can be found by googling rapid prototyping


Did you know you can build rapid prototypes even with MS-Excel? An excellent page with a published example:


It is one of the examples at http://wireframes.linowski.ca/

Why scientific Psychology

Because this is the kind of course I have always wanted to do. Psychology is a science since its very beginning as an academic discipline in the 19th century. In my opinion, some others disciplines claiming to be "scientific" still have a long road ahead to be as truly empirical and experimental as the Psychology.

[20-10-2008] Judgment and decision-making

Created a page. If you have the smallest interest in the issue, please have a look at it:

Judgment and Decision Making

[17-10-2008] My long-term relationship with behavioural decision-making

Though, for me, now, it sounds "cocky", it shows at least some knowledge on what I was talking about: cost-benefit analysis.

Some references and sources for cost-benefit analysis from MAUT:

Although not an expert on cost-benefit analysis, I have some training in decision-making analysis, especially from the behavioural side. I think that there are basic references applicable for any decision-making (or trade-off) problem that cannot be ignored. I also think they apply to the cost-benefit problem in the (..) project.

The first reference is

Keeney, R. L. and H. Raiffa (1993): Decisions with Multiple Objectives. Preferences and Value Tradeoffs. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. (1st edition published by Wiley in 1976)

This is maybe the most cited reference for the Multi-Attribute Utility Theory, or MAUT. This theory provides a complete framework for optimizing decisions or trade-offs with multiple criteria under uncertainty. Although deeply rooted in mathematical formalities, like axiomatic approaches and long demonstrations, the book is full of practical applications and recommendations in applied settings (one of the applications is "evaluating computer systems", chapter 7.5 , p. 409).

The process of the decision problem in MAUT is quite similar to that outlined in the deliverable. However, and opposite to what is said in the deliverable ("the degree to which economic factors can be quantified and monetised in the strict sense that conventional cost-benefit analysis requires has not been fully determined yet"), Keeney and Raiffa, and in general the MAUT approach, provides practical methods to measure utility or value functions, which may or may not be functions of monetary value. Actually, in most if not all of the real context decision problems, the attributes under consideration are not direct functions of money, as, e.g., long-term value of assets, environmental impacts of industrial operations, and, of course, the criteria in clinical decision-making.

I know for sure that the MAUT approach has been applied in many applied and real contexts, and think that this can be a useful approach for the problem in the (..) project, i.e., trade-offs between costs and quality in multimedia interpersonal communication systems. May I also recommend two journals, Journal of Multi Criteria Decision Analysis and the Journal of Behavioral Decision Analysis, both published by Wiley Interscience (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/), and also available in Internet. I can also recommend a tool available in the Internet: http://www.hipre.hut.fi/.

Another basic reference in this context is:

Von Winterfeld, D. and W. Edwards (1986): Decision Analysis and Behavioral Research. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.

This is a very readable, comprehensive and practical book that not only describes the application of MAUT, but also presents the behavioral research on eliciting values, and the most common biases, which is a classic problem in Experimental Psychology since the fifties. Just to show the similarity of the process in MAUT and that described in the deliverable, I copy here the decision process outlined in the book:

1. Define alternatives and value-relevant attributes.
2. Evaluate each alternative separately on each attribute.
3. Assign relative weights to the attributes.
4. Aggregate the weights of attributes and the single-attribute evaluations of alternatives to obtain an overall evaluation of alternatives.
5. Perform sensitivity analyses and make recommendations.

(von Winterfeld and Edwards, p. 273).


- There are formal and practical approaches to decision making (and in my opinion to cost-benefit analysis) not exclusively based upon monetary value functions. MAUT is a very well known approach.
- There are several methods to empirically find out the important attributes in decisions, and to quantify them in the terms required by mathematical models, that can be perfectly applied in the context of the (..) project.

This page is created (for the moment) as a set of Questions and Answers

What is a ROC curve?

Very good definitions, as usual in wikipedia.

Why am I interested in ROC curves?

Because they are deeply rooted in history of Psychological research, especially Psychophysics (more specifically Signal Detection Theory). But more important, because they are a true multidisciplinar methodology.

In the 70s it was used for the assessment of image diagnostic systems, and became a standard in this truly multidisciplinary field.

I applied it in my Ph. D. thesis for a problem of marketing research.

What research areas dealing with ROC curves I am interested in?

I am interested in the relation between precision and recall curves and ROC curves. There is a key paper about this issue, by
Davis and Goadrich (2006). Find the paper in their site:
http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~richm/articles/davisgoadrichcamera2.pdf. This has been a very influential paper as you can see from the cites in scholar.google. They even provide a java program to compute ROC curves from PR curves and vice-versa:

Definetly, a most interesting site to visit: http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~richm/

From the cites in scholar.google you will also find the following:

J Burez, D Van den Poel (2008): Handling class imbalance in customer churn prediction - Expert Systems With Applications, 2008 - Elsevier

This is a most interesting paper about the problem of predicting churn, and uses PR and ROC curves for evaluation of different algorithms. Now reading it.

AL Garcia-Almanza, EPK Tsang, E Galvan-Lopez ('): Evolving Decision Rules to Discover Patterns in Financial Data Sets

Well, what to say about patterns in financial data sets these days? A curious application…

Data mining with rarity (very few positive examples in comparison with total number) is still a challenge. Some key references:

Weiss, G. M. (2004): Mining with rarity: a unifying framework. ACM SIGKDD Explorations Newsletter, 2004,Volume 6, Issue 1 - Page 7

S Visa, A Ralescu (2005): Issues in mining imbalanced data sets-A review paper. Proceedings of the Sixteen Midwest Artificial Intelligence. Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research 19:315-354.

Every single day more and more surprised of internet for a scholar. This is an essential book on information retrieval, from 2008, cambridge university press, and available here:


[9-7-09] New York Times TierneyLab

The New York Times TierneyLab is a blog by John Tierney on unusual scientific ideas and their effect on society.


See entries for Psychology: http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/psychology/

[9-7-09] Rumsfeld's poetry

I had a strange experience while reading the special section on stem cells in Science. The image of Donald Rumsfeld drifted into my mind. The former Secretary of Defense is of course well known for his acute distinction between the knowns, the known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.

Here are his words at a 2002 Pentagon press conference, verbatim but arranged as a prose poem by Hart Seeley:

The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.

[21-04-09] Cognitive tests

I intend to focus, as much as I can, on Psychometrics. As usual, wikipedia is standard to collate the current state-of-the-art. Here about cognitive tests:


[21-04-09] Historia de la Interfaz Gráfica de Usuario

Me he puesto un poco en plan abuelito Cebolleta con un artículo que se ha difundido en aipo sobre la historia de la GUI. Lo pongo todo para seguir un poco el tema posteriormente:

"Dejadme compartir con vosotros un mensaje que he mandado a Socios-AIPO a propósito de una publicación sobre la historia de la GUI. Esta originalmente en:


A lo que he comentado lo siguiente:

Muy interesante, pero echo en falta, desde punto de vista histórico, X-windows, sobre todo los terminales X monocromo, uno de los pocos entornos gráficos disponibles en la década de los 80. Y, claro, todos los gestores de ventanas sobre entornos Linux: en el año 94 yo usaba fvwm sobre linux porque la tarjeta gráfica de mi PC no funcionó con el primer MS
Windows 3.1. Lo que han cambiado las cosas…

La imagen de IRIX, el entorno de Silicon Graphics, le hace muy poca justicia a este fabuloso entorno gráfico que en 1994-95 permitía unas capacidades multimedia que otros entornos, quizá con la excepción de Mac, tardaron años en tener. Probad:


Y sobre los modernos, echo en falta los avances en GUIs + 3D, como beryl-compiz (les he perdido la pista, es una sopa de siglas).


Pero GUIs hay en muchos entornos además de PC. Ya se han mencionado los móviles, PDAs, smartphones de todo tipo, pero también están los entornos TV con OSD, los widgets que están apareciendo en estos entornos. Los e-books. Y por qué no, los sistemas de control en el coche: i-drive de BMW, p.ej. Los absolutamente especializados de aviónica…

[21-04-09] Sources for a history of Psychology

I am retrieving links I had stored long ago. This is fabulous:


With links to historic papers in html.

Wow! The autobiography of L. L. Thurstone:


[17-04-09] El excedente cognitivo, la economía de la abundancia …

Lo dice google … O eso ponen los de soitu sobre una conferencia de Google. Muy buenas reflexiones sobre los modelos de negocio para los medios en internet (y en TV, en el móvil, en…).

[16-04-09] User modelling history

From messages to the user-modelling maillist (URLs at bottom of message), after a question about user modelling history as a discipline. Response from Peter Brusilovsky:

That would be quite a challenge… There are some papers, but nothing comprehensive. I can tell you, however, when it started. The first AI CAI, intelligent educational system SCHOLAR published in 1970 had simple overlay model of student knowledge about geography. Arguably, this is the first user model - which was not named yet as user model at that time.


Peter Brusilovsky
School of Information Sciences
University of Pittsburgh
135 North Bellefield Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Phone: 412 624 9404 +++ Fax: 412 624 2788
WWW: http://www2.sis.pitt.edu/~peterb

The Adaptive Web Book (LNCS 4321) is out:

[16-04-09] Cursos on-line usabilidad

De un mensaje de hoy en cadius:

La Open University tiene algunas asignaturas muy interesantes:

Fundamentals of interaction design -

Design and designing - http://www3.open.ac.uk/courses/bin/p12.dll?C01T211

Creo que tienes que matricularte de alguna titulacion de las que ofrecen para poder cursarlas.

Hola Juan Carlos, he visto hace poco unos módulos on line bastante interesantes en la Universidad Pompeu Fabra


Puedes hacer el máster completo con titulación oficial o por módulos. Yo estoy barajando la posibilidad de matricularme en alguno, pero la mayoría de los consejos que recibo es que me forme por mi cuenta con la bibliografía existente.

Recomiendo los seminarios virtuales de uie.com, coordinados por Jared Spool y su equipo, me parece que son bien estructurados y my útiles para equipos que quieren empezar a introducir la usabilidad en sus proyectos, lo mejor es que el precio es bastante asequible.

También están los 'webminars' de RosenfeldMedia para los interesados en Arquitectura de Información: http://www.rosenfeldmedia.com/webinars/

Natalia Vivas Velasco

[12-Nov-2008] Código ético AIPO 2008

He revisado el código ético para pruebas de usabilidad que adapté (basado en códigos de asociaciones de Psicología, como la americana -APA- o británica -BPS-) y al que he añadido un apartado sobre pruebas proyectivas. Es un tema muy debatible, por supuesto, pero que está basado en nuestra experiencia con un proyecto.


Lo llamo "AIPO" pero el caso es que formalmente no tiene ningún input de esta asociación, salvo de aquéllos que estamos trabajando en empresas, y que hemos creado un grupo llamado "AIPO - profesionales", que está funcionando muy bien.

[23-10-2008] El Boletín de Factores Humanos sigue en pie

Sí señor, todo un resistente. Como la aldea de los galos… A ver lo que dura:

Iré poniendo los artículos más bonitos, sin prisa pero sin pausa.

[22-10-2008] Philip Zimbardo

Philip Zimbardo era profesor en Stanford y dirigió los experimentos de la cárcel (simulada) de Stanford, en 1971. Él se reservó el papel de “alcaide” de esta prisión, esto es, él mismo ejercía un papel en el experimento. Este experimento se hizo muy famoso porque sobrepasó muchos límites éticos en la investigación psicológica. El caso es que muy pronto se le fue de las manos, con sus alumnos mostrando conductas claramente sádicas (los que hacían de carceleros) y problemas emocionales que iban empeorando a una velocidad asombrosa (los que hacían de prisioneros). A los 6 días de comenzar el experimento, que inicialmente tenía una duración prevista de 14 días, tuvo que suspenderlo. Un dato asombroso, espeluznante, es que ¡de las 50 personas que visitaron el experimento, sólo una, UNA, le dijo que aquello que estaba haciendo era inhumano, antiético! Muy curioso, se casaron (Zimbardo y ella).

He estado viendo a Zimbardo en unos programas divulgativos sobre la psicología científica, de finales de los 80, y se le ve bastante “envarado” (“estirado”), muy en su papel de presentador televisivo. Para mi este tipo no tendría mayor relevancia, hasta que leí su trayectoria más cercana. Por cierto, que fue presidente de la APA, y muy volcado en la difusión de las aplicaciones de la Psicología en la vida diaria. (Más allá de las chorradas de la autoayuda, y de los tostones “emocionales”).

Treinta y tantos años después de sus experimentos en Stanford, Zimbardo se enteró, como todo el mundo, de las torturas de Abu Ghraib. Se encontró con unas escenas muy similares, y en algunos casos espeluznantemente coincidentes, con lo que había vivido en Stanford. Por ejemplo, la simulación de relaciones homosexuales, lo de tapar las cabezas (hay una foto de los experimentos que pone los pelos de punta: al alumno más “castigado”, quien comenzó una huelga de hambre, le pusieron una bolsa en la cabeza sus propios compañeros que hacían de carceleros).

Zimbardo se ofreció a la defensa de uno de los implicados en la cárcel de Abu Graib, quizá con el convencimiento de que apoyándose en su experiencia anterior se podría justificar esto como “un fallo del sistema”. Finalmente no consiguió nada, y el acusado fue condenado a la pena máxima (8 años; que en mi opinión, y para el sistema penal americano, es relativamente suave), pero él escribió un libro sobre el mal. ¿Cómo comienza el mal en las personas? Tiene un libro, y da conferencias, lo siguiente está obtenido de una de ellas.

Los 7 procesos sociales que facilitan (precipitan, catalizan) la caída en la maldad (“evil”)

- Dar el primer paso inadvertidamente (mindlessly).
- La deshumanización de los otros.
- La des-individualización de uno mismo (el anonimato).
- La dilución de la responsabilidad personal.
- La obediencia ciega a la autoridad.
- La conformidad acrítica a las normas del grupo.
- La tolerancia pasiva de la maldad a través de la inacción o la indiferencia

[20-10-2008] Psychology matters

An excellent idea, though really finished? Just a few issues for applied Psychology, but enough to see how important it can be:


An idea by Philip Zimbardo, president of the APA, see the Judgment and Decision Making page, created today.

[15-10-2008] Josh Tenenmbaum on Bayesian models of human inductive learning

Wow, wow!

Videolecture: Bayesian models of human inductive learning

Many people in machine learning get into the field because they are interested in how humans learn, rather than how convex functions are optimized, and how we can get machines to be more like humans

What we say in spanish: "turn around the omelette"!

Fabulous resources on the topic:
OpenCourseWare del MIT

[4-10-2008] Recommendations effectiveness is CRUCIAL:

"Poor Quality Recommendations Abound and Consumers Show Little Tolerance for Them:
o Overall, 46% of consumers reported receiving personalized recommendations that were a poor match based on their tastes and
o The most often cited reasons for why recommendations were considered to be poor were 1) they were for products the consumer already owned (43%), and 2) they were inappropriate such as evening bags for men (41%).
o Poor quality recommendations have a signifcant negative impact on the sites and services that deliver them: 39% of consumers are less willing to return to sites that provide poor quality recommendations; 35% are less willing to buy products from those sites.

o Consumers´ willingness to provide information in exchange for personalization is signifcant, with roughly half of the population indicating a willingness to exchange demographic or preference information in exchange for a more personalized experience."

There are lots of ground to ** ask people about their preferences and the reasons for them**. Or do you know a better way?

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