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Cognitive science normally takes the individual agent as its unit of analysis. In many human endeavors, however, the outcomes of interest are not determined entirely by the information processing properties of individuals. Nor can they be inferred from the properties of the individual agents, alone, no matter how detailed the knowledge of the properties of(More)
We are quickly passing through the historical moment when people work in front of a single computer, dominated by a small CRT and focused on tasks involving only local information. Networked computers are becoming ubiquitous and are playing increasingly significant roles in our lives and in the basic infrastructures of science, business, and social(More)
Direct manipulation has been lauded as a good form of interface design, and some interfaces that have this property have been well received by users. In this article we seek a cognitive account of both the advantages and disadvantages of direct manipulation interfaces. We identify two underlying phenomena that give rise to the feeling of directness. One(More)
In earlier research on the organization of work, Hutchins developed a theory of distributed cognition that takes as its unit of analysis a culturally constituted functional group rather than an individual mind. This theory is concerned with how information is propagated through a system in the form of representational states of mediating structures. These(More)
Reasoning processes require stable representations of constraints. There are two principal ways to achieve stability in conceptual models. First, the conceptual models that anthropologists call cultural models achieve representational stability via a combination of intrapersonal and interpersonal processes. Second, the association of conceptual structure(More)
This paper reports a set of computer simulations that demonstrate a form of adaptation that we believe to be characteristic of human intelligence. One of the central problems faced by biological and artificial systems is the development and maintenance of coordination between structure inside the system and structure outside the system. That is, the(More)
Like all other branches of cognitive science, distributed cognition seeks to understand the organization of cognitive systems. Like most of cognitive science, it takes cognitive processes to be those that are involved in memory, decision making, inference, reasoning, learning, and so on. Also following mainstream cognitive science, it characterizes(More)
Cognitive ecology is the study of cognitive phenomena in context. In particular, it points to the web of mutual dependence among the elements of a cognitive ecosystem. At least three fields were taking a deeply ecological approach to cognition 30 years ago: Gibson's ecological psychology, Bateson's ecology of mind, and Soviet cultural-historical activity(More)