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Case studies of mental models in home heat control: searching for feedback, valve, timer and switch theories

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An intergroup case study was undertaken to determine if: 1) There exist distinct mental models of home heating function, that differ significantly from the actual functioning of UK heating systems; and 2) Mental models of thermostat function can be categorized according to Kempton’s (1986) valve and feedback shared theories, and others from the literature. Distinct, inaccurate mental models of the heating system, as well as thermostat devices in isolation, were described. It was possible to categorise thermostat models by Kempton’s (1986) feedback shared theory, but other theories proved ambiguous. Alternate control devices could be categorized by Timer (Norman, 2002) and Switch (Peffer et al., 2011) theories. The need to consider the mental models of the heating system in terms of an integrated set of control devices, and to consider user’s goals and expectations of the system benefit, was highlighted. The value of discovering shared theories, and understanding user mental models, of home heating, are discussed with reference to their present day relevance for reducing energy consumption.

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Revell, Kirsten M.A. and Stanton, Neville A. (2014) Case studies of mental models in home heat control: searching for feedback, valve, timer and switch theories Applied Ergonomics, 45, (3), pp. 363-378. (doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2013.05.001). (PMID:23731626).

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e-pub ahead of print date: 31 May 2013
Published date: May 2014
Keywords: mental models, home heating, device models, energy consuming behaviour, usability
Organisations: Faculty of Engineering and the Environment


Local EPrints ID: 353338
ISSN: 0003-6870
PURE UUID: 743db4b2-9482-4748-a69b-e202f8b7426c

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Date deposited: 05 Jun 2013 12:30
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 04:04

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