Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reaction: Distributed Cognition as a Theoretical Framework for Information Visualization

According to the paper, we have lots of information regarding InfoVis but no fundamental framework or theory to standardize that formatting. This paper posits that a distributed cognition framework (DCog) is a system that is capable of providing that necessary framework and that we should ultimately be including research in this field as an explicit item of study.  
After reading this paper, I believe I understand what distributed cognition is in relation to how we interact with the environment around us. As a theory it makes sense the we would process the world in several ways, be able to modify our environment to help perceive additional information about it and store this information in some symbolic field. Intuitively this makes a lot of sense, but from a scientific standpoint, this seems loosely verifiable. They mention in the paper that this is a framework  not a theory, but it seems that a theory is nothing but a framework that has been more rigorously tested. This makes me believe this is why they were not willing to call it a theory, but instead use another word in which they have fabricated a new meaning.  They spend far too much time in this paper talking about what the benefits could be to extended research in this field and not enough time building an actual theory to rest on. This seems more like a literature review in preparation for a fully-fledge scientific study.