A Few Thoughts on Cognitive Overload by David Kirsh [Kirsh]

by Limbic on January 28, 2004

“To understand how people handle this bewildering matrix of information and activity spaces typical of modern workspaces requires close attention to the fine grain of interaction. Given the prevalence of multi-tasking and interruption: How do we switch attention from one task to another? How do we maintain control over our multiple inquiries? What do we find intrusive, distracting, or annoying? What are the effects of interruption and what sort of cognitive strategies have people developed to minimize their consequences? There is a large body of psychological literature on attention – both single and dual task attention. But the issues that concern us here, lie as much in the interaction between agent and environment as in the agent’s cognitive make-up itself – an area experimental psychologists have spent less time exploring. When people adapt to their environments they not only adapt internally by altering mental processes and behavior, they also change the very environment posing the adaptive challenge. If we are to develop theories of information overload, multi-tasking, distraction, and interruption – all key components of a general theory of cognitive overload — we will have to understand this co-evolution. We will need to understand how people dynamically manage their interaction, how they are cognitively coupled to their environments, and how they structure workflow by using the environment as a cognitive ally.” MORE

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Carlos Baker April 16, 2004 at 6:56 am

GREAT WEBSITE!!!! I spent the whole afternoon and part of an evening on here.There is just so much interesting stuff that you can’t tear yourself away.I appreciate all the hard work that goes in to making a site this good.

Carlos Baker


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