Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reaction: Distributed Cognition as a Theoretical Framework for Information Visualization

Several theories in the field of information visualization have been formulated to understand two important aspects namely representation and interaction.But from the author's point of view, for a theory to be successful, it is important to first understand human cognition. There needs to be an underlying framework that clearly models three important concepts namely perception, cognition and action. Perception is the way humans see things; cognition, the way information is processed and actions are the result of perception and cognition. It is also important to consider environmental factors which affect perception and cognition.

A new framework to understand cognition is presented and contrasted with the traditional theory of cognition. The author suggests that the focus should be on a "cognitive system" which is a group of individuals and the objects they use, rather than narrowing the focus on an individual which is completely valid in my opinion. The distributed cognition framework concentrates on representations external to the human mind whereas the traditional cognitive science stresses on representations within the human mind. The relationship between two representations is also discussed.

Overall, the author tries to convince the reader of the benefits of the Distributed Cognition framework by trying to answer all questions that the reader might have. But, the framework is still under development and hence is difficult to evaluate.