Cognitive Friction and Woodworking Tools

Found the following while slogging through google results for a search on "pointy sticks" (see The Pointy Stick Compendium Project) While it was on a web site devoted to web site design, the phrase "cognitive friction" seems applicable to many woodworking tools and woodworking methods developed for power tools. Making dovetails with a router, dovetail bit and a jig like the Akeda or Leigh involve a high degree of cogniative friction. Hanductting them is a low cognitative friction process.
I also like the last line in this excerpt - if things don't work IT'S YOUR FAULT.
"Cognitive friction
Interaction design guru Alan Cooper (www.cooper.com) defined this term to describe the mental stretch caused when tools behave in a way that seems unrelated to what you wanted. I find it extremely helpful in illustrating the ever-present anxiety of being a normal web user. [Editor’s note - the term “web user” can be replaced by “woodworking tool user”]
Note: Alan describes this much better in his excellent book "The Inmates are Running the Asylum". Please buy it.
In times gone by, using a tool to do something was a simple affair. e.g. Gather friends > take sticks > make stick pointy > poke mammoth with sticks > repeat until mammoth falls over. The pointy stick is very low in cognitive friction: its purpose and form are directly related. Even if you'd never used a pointy stick before, you could imagine how you could use it simply by looking at it or handling it. If you stick yourself in the leg with it, you understood why you'd been stuck in the leg, and you would learn how to avoid getting stuck in the leg again.
Todays' tools are generally high in cognitive friction: their form and purpose are more often unrelated. (snip) Another effect you notice with cognitive friction is: if something doesn't work, you're made to think it's your fault."
Just something to think about - or not.
charlie b
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

for me, this term applies even more so to handcut dovetails. In this case the outcome should be obvious and easy to achieve - the tools are simple and the function they serve obvious right? But the outcome is never what I had intended or imagined in the first place. The seemingly lack of correlation between results and intended results is extremely high - hence a high Cognitive Friction coefficient. Did I understand the term correctly?

I like Charlie B's corollary #1:

the tool.
TWS
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
TWS wrote:

I think you're talking about "doing friction" - I know WHAT and WHY I WANT my hand to cause the saw it's holding to cut on THIS side of the line BUT the eye-hand-saw coordination isn't there yet. You CAN handcut dovetails that fit together - but they probablywon't fit nice and clean and snug AND look nice. That comes with practice. But the concept/ process of handcutting dovetails, especially if you have one you can physically hold, take apart and examine, is pretty straight foreward. Saw and pare "to the line" - the "line" assumed to be where it's suppose to be (good layout).

That wasn't my corollary - came with the article. I will add a closer to home observation - men/women interaction. My first wife had a sign on the refridgerator that read
"I know you think you know what I said but what I said ISN'T what I meant"
Her mother AND grandmother had the identical sign on their refridgerators.
An example:
The question asked is "Should I wear dress A or dress B?" The question to be answered "I like dress B and want you to support my choice and thus affirm/acknowledge my ability to make good decisions."
The cognitive friction in this example is extremely high. Despite the apparent 50-50 odds, the actual odds are more like 90-10, 90% chance of guessing wrong.
charlie b
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Interesting concept. Thanks for posting. Cognitive friction is why I cut my dovetails with hand tools. If I was getting paid and cutting a lot of dovetails I would make the mental investment to figure them out, but I'm not paid and I only cut dovetails every now and then. I'd have to reclimb the learning curve every darn time.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 05 Mar 2005 21:31:44 -0800, the inscrutable charlie b

"What abotu typoing?" he grinned.

The Normite/Neander duality factor incarnate? <(Amazon.com product link shortened)10121022/sr=2-2/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_2/104-4750393-3495137>

One would hope, at least.

Say, like sanding through the veneer with a belt sandah?

Question of the decade:
Why is staining and polying wood so bloody low in cognitive friction for so -many- people?
========================================================= Save the ||| http://diversify.com Endangered SKEETS! ||| Web Application Programming =========================================================
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.