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How terrified are you of computers?

1 Introduction

Several workers have developed scales for attitudes twoards computers and Howard et al 1986 demonstrated that " approximately one third of the students in an introductory computer course had seriously high level of computer anxiety."

Ray & Minch 1990 discuss the relationship between computer alienation and anxiety. They followed Seeman's concept of alienation assuming that it consists of:


  • Powerlessness - a sense of lack of control
  • Normlessness - "high expectancy that socially unapproved behaviours are required to achieve given goals" (Seeman 1959 p788 quoted in Ray & Minch)
  • Meaninglessness - incomprehensibility of personal and socialaffairs
  • Social isolation - a sense of exclusion or rejection
  • Self-estrangement - engagement in activities that are not intrinsically rewarding
  • Cultural estrangement - an individual's rejection of commonly held values in a society

Minch & Ray found that a computer alienation score correlated with satisfaction with past courses that involved IT.


Minch & Ray found that both computer anxiety and computer alienation scores possess a hands-on aspect and they found that computer alienation consists of two factors: a personal hands on relationship with computers and a more impersonal, indirect relationship. Howard and Smith (1986) stated that the only way to lessen computer anxiety is to apply an involved hands-on education or training program to the problem." [from Ray & Minch1990]



2 References

Howard G S, Murphy C M, Thomas G E. 1986 Computer anxiety considerations for design of introductory computer courses. In Proceedings of the 1986 Annual meeting of the decision support sciences institute, pp. 630 - 632 Atlanta, GA: Decision support sciences Institute.

Nina M Ray, Robert P Minch 1990 Computer anxiety and alienation: towards a definition and parsimonious measure. Human factors 32 (4) 477 - 491