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authors Pea, R.
year 1993
title Practices of Distributed Intelligence and Designs for Education
source Distributed Cognitions, edited by G. Salomon. New York, NY: CambridgeUniversity Press
summary v Knowledge is commonly socially constructed, through collaborative efforts... v Intelligence may also be distributed for use in designed artifacts as diverse as physical tools, representations such as diagrams, and computer-user interfaces to complex tasks. v Leont'ev 1978 for activity theory that argues forcibly for the centrality of people-in-action, activity systems, as units of analysis for deepening our understanding of thinking. v Intelligence is distributed: the resources that shape and enable activity are distributed across people, environments, and situations. v Intelligence is accomplished rather than possessed. v Affordance refers to the perceived and actual properties of a thing, primarily those functional properties that determine how the thing could possibly be used. v Norman 1988 on design and psychology - the psychology of everyday things" v We deploy effort-saving strategies in recognition of their cognitive economy and diminished opportunity for error. v The affordances of artifacts may be more or less difficult to convey to novice users of these artifacts in the activities to which they contribute distributed intelligence. v Starts with Norman's seven stages of action Forming a goal; an intention Task desire - clear goal and intention - an action and a means Mapping desire - unable to map goal back to action Circumstantial desire - no specific goal or intention - opportunistic approach to potential new goal Habitual desire - familiar course of action - rapidly cycle all seven stages of action v Differentiates inscriptional systems from representational or symbol systems because inscriptional systems are completely external, while representational or symbol systems have been used in cognitive science as mental constructs. v The situated properties of everyday cognition are highly inventive in exploiting features of the physical and social situation as resources for performing a task, thereby avoiding the need for mental symbol manipulations unless they are required by that task. v Explicit recognition of the intelligence represented and representable in design, specifically in designed artifacts that play important roles in human activities. v Once intelligence is designed into the affordances properties of artifacts, it both guides and constrains the likely contributions of that artifact to distributed intelligence in activity. v Culturally valued designs for distributed intelligence will change over time, especially as new technology becomes associated with a task domain. v If we treat distributed intelligence in action as the scientific unit of analysis for research and theory on learning and reasoning... What is distributed? What constraints govern the dynamics of such distributions in different time scales? Through what reconfigurations of distributed intelligence might the performance of an activity system improve over time? v Intelligence is manifest in activity and distributed in nature. v Intelligent activities ...in the real world... are often collaborative, depend on resources beyond an individual's long-term memory, and require the use of information-handling tools... v Wartofsky 1979 - the artifact is to cultural evolution what the gene is to biological evolution - the vehicle of information across generations. v Systems of activity - involving persons, environment, tools - become the locus of developmental investigation. v Disagrees with Salomon et al.'s entity-oriented approach - a language of containers holding things. v Human cognition aspires to efficiency in distributing intelligence - across individuals, environment, external symbolic representations, tools, and artifacts - as a means of coping with the complexity of activities we often cal "mental." "
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