Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reaction: Distributed Cognition as a Theoretical Framework for Information Viz

According to author, traditional cognitive science has been inefficient in proving representation and interaction as key dimensions of Infoviz. Dcog disagrees with the belief that tools amplify cognition. According to this theoretical framework, cognitive skills should be amplified using individual's mind instead of tools.And this should essentially involve interaction between individual and environmental factors (social, cultural and material).Dcog is a collabarative approach where emphasis is more on interdependence and interaction with external factors than on individual cognitive skills. Author tries to convince that DCog does not completely ignore internal representation as we can track it through external representation, but fails to provide a strong argument on this. Papers discuss how externalization of information enable an interplay between external and internal factors in distributed environment. And thus escape the complex conclusions of traditional approach.It also states that a cognitive system should comprise of set of individuals and artifacts.

The paper follows a theorotical and hypothesis-based approach rather than experimental. Examples used throughtout are also very basic and can't be used for generalizing a therotical framework. However it lays a very strong foundation for key concepts in research like external represenation, cognitive coupling and coordination. Paper concludes with discussion on usage and application of DCog in current practices of Infoviz and cognitive systems .I liked the way author compares Dcog with traditional system at every step, but he should have stressed more on proving DCog as an effective framework for Infoviz.