Artifacts as psychological theories: The case of human-computer interaction

John M. Carroll, Robert L. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


We cast the psychology of human-computer interaction (HCI) in terms of task analysis and the invention of artifacts. We consider the implications of this for attempts to define HCI in terms of a priori conceptions of psychology. We suggest that artifacts can be considered theory-like in HCI, and observe that they do play a theory-like role in the field as practiced. Our proposal resolves the current methodological perplexity about the legitimacy and composition of the field. We conclude that HCI is a distinct son of science: a design science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences
  • Human-Computer Interaction


Dive into the research topics of 'Artifacts as psychological theories: The case of human-computer interaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this