Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reaction: Distributed Cognition as a Theoretical Framework for Information Visualization

The paper highlights how the field of InfoVis is just maturing and does not have a supporting framework to it. The authors hence visualize a prospect of the “distributive cognition” framework to serve as theoretical framework for InfoVis. InfoVis is about computer supported representation and interaction of data to increase the understanding from the data. Hence representation and interaction play a major role in InfoVis and distributed cognition is used to examine the two parameters. The authors propose how DCog has the perspective of cognition which has the potential to be an emergent property of interaction among humans and artefacts and thus leading to InfoViz research.

In this paper, the authors elaborate the concept of cognition as to being the information processing inside the brain. Here along with the information even the environment details stored in the human brain form an important part of cognitive science research. However the authors focus on reductionist approach of filtering details of the environment and concentrating only on the information part of human cognition. In my opinion, this approach would pose serious risk of misinterpretation of DCog. The author strike a commendable contrast between DCOG and traditional cognition by stating that the difference is essentially perspectival and depends on the outlook of processing and recognizing cognition.

Further in the paper, the authors focus on interaction as an important feature of cognitive sciences and also discuss about the extending the discussions in this paper to a social level. The implications of the research and their relevance to a group of individuals are discussed. The authors have also discussed about the theoretical framework of DCog and its applications. To conclude the authors have stated that InforVis is closely associated with human cognition and study of InvoVis to a large extend depends on the appropriate theoretical concepts and methodology for application of human cognition and perception. The authors have put forth the conceptual idea of DCog and have struck a commendable argument about its concepts.