Distributed cognition: A methodological note

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Humans are closely coupled with their environments. They rely on being ‘embedded’ to help coordinate the use of their internal cognitive resources with external tools and resources. Consequently, everyday cognition, even cognition in the absence of others, may be viewed as partially distributed. As cognitive scientists our job is to discover and explain the principles governing this distribution: principles of coordination, externalization, and interaction. As designers our job is to use these principles, especially if they can be converted to metrics, in order to invent and evaluate candidate designs. After discussing a few principles of interaction and embedding I discuss the usefulness of a range of metrics derived from economics, computational complexity, and psychology.


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