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Perhaps it would have been more satisfying to discover that communication can be adequately characterized as transmission across a channel from an encoding station to a decoding station. But if research work in cognitive and social psychology teaches us anything, it teaches us that mechanical simplicities are distinctly the exception. Thinking, behaving, and communicating are so much a part of the purposive, social, and esign contexts in which they occur that it hardly makes sense to examine them outside these contexts. Examining human capacities and propensities within these rich task environments, however, can be doubly rewarding. Research work that addresses the human condition in all of its inherent complexity can produce usable insights into the structure of human psychology. And the very activity of pursuing such research questions induces empathy for the user-end of a manmachine interaction. It helps to remind us that the user-end is indeed unique.
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