Modelling Interactive Behaviour with a Rational Cognitive Architecture
In this chapter we discuss a number of recent studies that demonstrate the use of rational analysis (Anderson, 1990) and cognitive modelling methods to understand complex interactive behaviour involved in three tasks: (1) icon search, (2) graph reading, and (3) information retrieval on the World Wide Web (WWW). We describe the underlying theoretical assumptions of rational analysis and the adaptive control of thought-rational (ACT-R) cognitive architecture (Anderson & Lebiere, 1998), a theory of cognition that incorporates rational analysis in its mechanisms for learning and decision making. In presenting these studies we aim to show how such methods can be combined with eye movement data to provide detailed, highly constrained accounts of user performance that are grounded in psychological theory. We argue that the theoretical and technological developments that underpin these methods are now at a stage that the approach can be more broadly applied to other areas of Web use.