CumInCAD is a Cumulative Index about publications in Computer Aided Architectural Design
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authors Johnson, Scott
year 1997
title What's in a Representation, Why Do We Care, and What Does It Mean? Examining Evidence from Psychology
source Design and Representation [ACADIA 97 Conference Proceedings / ISBN 1-880250-06-3] Cincinatti, Ohio (USA) 3-5 October 1997, pp. 5-15
summary This paper examines psychological evidence on the nature and role of representations in cognition. Both internal (mental) and external (physical or digital) representations are considered. It is discovered that both types of representation are deeply linked to thought processes. They are linked to learning, the ability to use existing knowledge, and problem solving strategies. The links between representations, thought processes, and behavior are so deep that even eye movements are partly governed by representations. Choice of representations can affect limited cognitive resources like attention and short-term memory by forcing a person to try to utilize poorly organized information or perform "translations" from one representation to another. The implications of this evidence are discussed. Based on these findings, a set of guidelines is presented, for digital representations which minimize drain of cognitive resources. These guidelines describe what sorts of characteristics and behaviors a representation should exhibit, and what sorts of information it should contain in order to accommodate and facilitate design. Current attempts to implement such representations are discussed.

series ACADIA
email sven@umich.edu
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