Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Thinking with external representations

Thinking with external representations Why do people create extra representations to help them make sense of situations, diagrams, illustrations, instructions and problems? The obvious explanation—external representations save internal memory and computation—is only part of the story. I discuss seven ways external representations enhance cognitive power: they change the cost structure of the inferential landscape; they provide a structure that can serve as a shareable object of thought; they create persistent referents; they facilitate re-representation; they are often a more natural representation of structure than mental representations; they facilitate the computation of more explicit encoding of information; they enable the construction of arbitrarily complex structure; and they lower the cost of controlling thought—they help coordinate thought. Jointly, these functions allow people to think more powerfully with external representations than without. They allow us to think the previously unthinkable. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png AI & Society Springer Journals

Thinking with external representations

AI & Society , Volume 25 (4) – Nov 1, 2010

Loading next page...
 
/lp/springer-journals/thinking-with-external-representations-BDQ0cdU1G8

References (47)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 by Springer-Verlag London Limited
Subject
Computer Science; Engineering Economics, Organization, Logistics, Marketing; Computer Science, general; Control , Robotics, Mechatronics; Artificial Intelligence (incl. Robotics)
ISSN
0951-5666
eISSN
1435-5655
DOI
10.1007/s00146-010-0272-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Why do people create extra representations to help them make sense of situations, diagrams, illustrations, instructions and problems? The obvious explanation—external representations save internal memory and computation—is only part of the story. I discuss seven ways external representations enhance cognitive power: they change the cost structure of the inferential landscape; they provide a structure that can serve as a shareable object of thought; they create persistent referents; they facilitate re-representation; they are often a more natural representation of structure than mental representations; they facilitate the computation of more explicit encoding of information; they enable the construction of arbitrarily complex structure; and they lower the cost of controlling thought—they help coordinate thought. Jointly, these functions allow people to think more powerfully with external representations than without. They allow us to think the previously unthinkable.

Journal

AI & SocietySpringer Journals

Published: Nov 1, 2010

There are no references for this article.