Archive for the ‘embodiment’ Category

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thinking of the nature of ecology of mind

May 2, 2012

I have started some collaboration with Emanuele Bardone on defining ecology of mind.

Here are some initial thoughts and examples how to see ecology of mind in spatial terms.

There are some approaches that support cultural inheritance, ecological inheritance mechanisms, such as:

  • engineering web
Nontrophic and indirect interactions between species—that is, by the engineering web (Jones et al. 1994).
Jones, C. G., Lawton, G. H., & Shachak, M. (1994). Organisms as ecosystem engineers. Oikos, 69, 373–386.
Jones, C. G., Lawton, G. H., & Shachak, M. (1997). Ecosystem engineering by organisms: Why semantics
matters. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 12, 275.
  • external memory field
External memory field is essentially a cognitive workspace external to biological memory (p.296-297)
The external memory field is a temporary arrangement of some of the material in external symbolic storage system, for the use of one person (p.306)
Individuals connected to cultural network can access and exterior memory bank, read its codes and contents, store new contributions in permanent form, and interact with other individuals who employ the same codes and access routes (p. 311-312).
Human minds float freely, without any apparent physical tie-in, either temporary or permanent, to cultural devices (p.312).
The brain may not have changed recently in its genetic makeup, but its link to an accumulating external memory networks affords it cognitive powers that would not have been possible in isolation. (p.312)
Each time when brain carries out an operation in concert with the external symbolic storage system, it becomes part of the network. Its memory structure is temporarily altered, and the locus of cognitive control changes. (p. 312)
we are permanently wedded to our great invention (…external memory…) in a cognitive symbiosis unique in nature (p.356)
…within the context of hybrid mental architecture...consciousness can take many forms..(p.368)
…in case of television, the viewer yealds control to the external system, the screen becoming the external memory field (p. 372)
Merlin Donald (1991). Origins of the Modern Mind.
  • cultural and ecological inheritance
Natural selection and cultural selection are both involved when the animal population is human.
NCT (niche construction theory) is sometimes referred to as “triple-inheritance theory” (genetic, cultural, and ecological inheritance; e.g., Odling-Smee et al. 1996, 2003; Laland et al. 1999, 2000, 2001; Day et al. 2003; Shennan 2006).
The niche-construction perspective stresses two legacies that organisms inherit from their ancestors, genes and a modified environment with its associated selection pressures. Genetic inheritance depends on the capacity of reproducing parent organisms to pass on replicas of their genes to their offspring. Ecological inheritance, however, does not depend on the presence of any environmental replicators, but merely on the persistence, between generations, of whatever physical changes are caused by ancestral organisms in the local selective environments of their descendants (Odling-Smee et al., 2003).

Odling-Smee, F.J., Laland, K.N., & Feldman, M.W. (2003). Niche Construction: The Neglected Process in Evolution. Monographs in Population Biology, 37, Princeton University Press.

  • ecological knowledge
Heft (2001) wrote that: “we engage a meaningful environment of affordances and refashion some aspects of them… These latter constructed embodiments of what is known – which include tools, artifacts, representations, social patterns of actions, and institutions – can be called ecological knowledge. Ecological knowledge through its various structural, material culture, human setting manifestations becomes an integral social and cultural part of ‘the environment’, with these social and cultural affordances constituting effective, largely material, forms of knowledge with their own functional significance, cultural transmission, and adaptation implications.”
Heft, H. (2001). Ecological psychology in context. : James Gibson, Roger Baker, and the legacy of William James’s radical empiricism. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
It also associates with the cultural interface  concept (Manovich, 2008).
  • cultural interface
Lev Manovich in Software takes control (2008), uses cultural interface concept to describe human-computer culture
The interface is habitually the crucial boundary, or zone of articulation and translation whenever a computer would communicate with technological devices or the human user
“Cultural interfaces”, not just the diverse software interfaces of new media but also the formal traits and user practices with the printed word and cinema, can migrate into, and become part of, the interfaces of new media.
“While operations [like selection] are embedded in software, they are not tied to it. They are employed no only within the computer but also in the social world outside it. They are not only ways of working within the computer but also in the social world outside it. They are… general ways of working, ways of thinking, ways of existing the computer age.”
  • distributed cognitive system
I had to analyze our IntelLEO project results (cross-organizational leaning and knowledge-building supported by technological services), and as we have considered that it may be seen as a distributed cognitive system.

Then i was thinking of the ways how locus of cognitive control was partially external:

- the system services support
- the offloaded contents (of the person, of other persons, from organizations/cultures), meta-structures of content that reveal big picture or crowd knowledge (aggregations such as tags, tagclouds, ontologies) or meta-level increased access to certain contents (mashups, networks)
- the social support (such as awareness, social(participatory) surveillance, peer-scaffolding by commenting, rating)
These associate with the three ecological principles as well.
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Ecology of learning with new media tools

November 9, 2010

I was invited by Merja Bauters to do a lecture

“Ecology of learning with new media tools”

at Master of Semiotics program in Helsinki University for the course “Semiotics and media, sciences and technology studies”

Lecture was recorded at Monday, 15th of November, 2010 (16-18)
https://connect.metropolia.fi/p18468401/

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interrelated affordance dimensions as systems

November 4, 2010

I am preparing the virtual lecture “Ecology of learning with new media tools” for the master of semiotics program in Helsinki University for the course “Semiotics and media, sciences and technology studies”.

I was looking one article that was inspired by the Lakoff’s book “Metaphors we live bye”.
It assumes that we live by metaphors that actually structure our perceptions and understanding

Our conceptual system, thus, plays a central role in defining our everyday realities. If we are right in suggesting that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we thinks what we experience, and what we do every day is very much a matter of metaphor.

Interesting in this paper is the assumption that metaphorical concepts that we use form a system.

TIME IS MONEY, TIME IS A LIMITED RESOURCE, and TIME IS A VALUABLE COMMODITY are all metaphorical concepts. They are metaphorical since we are using our everyday experiences with money, limited resources, and valuable commodities to conceptualize time. This isn’t a necessary way for human beings to conceptualize time; it is tied to our culture. There are cultures where time is none of these things.

I started to think if there exists also the personal system within the affordances that we potentially actualize in interaction with the world.

My idea seems not to be exactly the same as affordance network idea conceived by Barab and Roth (2006). Particularly it is elaborating this part where environmental knowledge is used.

Barab and Roth (2006) have noted that connecting learners to ecological networks, where they can learn through engaged participation, activates the affordance networks.
Barab and Roth (2006) assumed that affordance networks are not read onto the world, but instead continually “transact” (are coupled) with the world as part of a perception-action cycle in which each new action potentially expands or contracts one’s affordance network.

Basically i think that:
a) if affordances are our perspectives, the positions that we take in the moment of action/emotion in the multidimensional geo-conceptual hybrid space consisting of conceptual dimensions and geographic dimensions (Pata, 2010; Normak, Pata, Kaipainen, forthcoming), then

b) there exists the personal spatial area within geo-conceptual hybrid space that is frequently defined by these positions
This personal spatial area (a cognitive niche) is simultaneously activated internally and externally as the cognitive distributed space during the cognitive chance-seeking (Bardone, 2010), and people are always “validating” the effectiveness of this space for affording their actions and emotions.

c) and within this personal space WE CAN FIND CONSISTENCY of what dimensions of the space are incorporated into certain affordances as personal perspectives useful for certain action or emotion

d) The accumulation of individual positions within this space (to the geographical and virtual object world and to the interpersonal relational actions) contribute to the formation of the cultural spaces – the niches within geo-conceptual hybrid space.
So some of the affordances are offloaded to the objects which are spatially located, some affordances are run dynamically in the awareness of the persons who are interacting and keeping awareness of bodily and emotional activations of each other and with the object world.

We may have several of such taskspaces.
Taskspace is an array of activities related to a certain environment (Ingold, 2000). A taskspace fosters a range of affordances of an environment, delimiting some and enabling others (Edensor, 2004).

e) Cultural niches within geo-conceptual hybrid space are used by individuals for spatial navigation while they select the positions in their own spaces (basically cultural niches can prompt or inhibit some dimensions that the person can use in the geo-conceptual hybrid space for actualizing affordances.

(dataset and image from Pata, 2009)

Image indicates the community perception of affordances for using an aggregator tool.

Part of the problem is how effectiveness of taking action or having emotion is evaluated by each individual in respect to the community niche, and how such effectiveness may be accumulated to the niche.

If the (geo)tags used for defining some conceptual artifacts are interpreted as the dimensions of the geo-conceptual space (for example if we look blog posts, or bookmarks), there exist some dimensions that are the root- or central dimensions, and other dimensions are additional dimensions.

The pictures of tag-networks allow us to see the “hubs” (root-dimensions) in this multidimensional space.

Here is the affordance dimension network based on my dataset (Pata, 2009a,b). I have used the Bayesian networking tool for finding the best fitting causal model for collaborative activity taskspace with social software tools.

From the previous spatial dimension figure we can see that monitoring is the most frequently perceived affordance of the aggregator. The other affordances frequently perceived while using aggregator are: filtering and mashing; collecting; reading; and evaluating.

We may assume that in the collaborative activity taskspace with different types of social software tools, the monitoring affordance in general is related with searching and evaluating and reading.
The arrow to reading indicates causality that actualizing monitoring affordance allows in turn reading affordance.

Following the same idea of spatial re-location while taking action and having emotion, Lackoff said about conceptual metaphors that Another functionality for metaphors is orientation in space.

I’m feeling up. That boosted my spirits. My spirits rose. you’re in high spirits. Thinking about her always gives me a lift. I’m feeling down. I’m depressed. He’s really low these days. I fell into a depression. My spirits sank.

Lakoff and Núñez suggest that conceptual metaphors form network of bodily grounded entities with inferential organization.

In his book “Philosophy in the Flesh : The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought” Lakoff and Johnson (1999) conceptualized living by metaphors using the embodied mind idea.

“our bodies, brains, and interactions with our environment provide the mostly unconscious basis for our everyday metaphysics, that is, our sense of what is real.”

Together with the “father” of embodied simulation Vittorio Gallese George Lakoff wrote and article “The Brain’s Concepts: The Role of the Sensory-Motor System in Conceptual Knowledge.” (2005).

The argue against the cognitive processing

A common philosophical position is that all concepts—even concepts about action and perception—are symbolic and abstract, and therefore must be implemented outside the brain’s sensory-motor system.

and suggest embodied simulation, assuming that

“sensory-motor regions of brain are directly exploited to characterise the so-called “abstract” concepts that constitute the meanings of grammatical constructions and general inference patterns.”

In the recent book “Embodied cognition” Shapiro distinguishes three important themes in embodied cognition (Shapiro, 2010):

Conceptualization – the properties of the organism’s body constrain which concepts an organism can acquire.

Replacement – the organism’s body in interaction with the environment replaces the need for symbolic representational processes. (systems do not include representational states)

Constitution – the body or world plays a constitutive role rather than causal role in cognitive processing.

I am thinking of two interesting aspects:
How is personal cognitive niche/a cultural niche a coherent referential network?

A person can offload some of the affordances to the environment using some artifacts, so the community niche may form and be reused for personal cognitive navigation?

A person interacts with other people directly and the monitored actions and emotions actualize temporarily parts of the community niche as well, which may be used for navigating in personal cognitive niche

How are some dimensions in the geo-cognitive space highlighted among others, and which are in principle these “spaces of flows” within cultural/community spaces and how one person is immersed to these flows.

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collaboratively narrated conceptual and geographical places

October 7, 2010

I was reading an article

THE LONG TAIL OF DESTINATION IMAGE AND ONLINE MARKETING
Bing Pan
Xiang (Robert) Li
Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. xx, No. xx, pp. xxx–xxx, 2011

This paper talks of tagged images (so called ontological space for conceptions) and people’s destination in real geographical locations.

It is interesting from two aspects:

It makes me think that in ontological space your position is determined by the frequently perceived ontodimensions in the community (by yourself) and less frequently preferred additional ontodimensions. It may be imagined that there is one central ontological dimension (or plane) and additional dimensions (planes) that shift you in this multidimensional space to certain area in respect from the first plane.

Another interesting aspect is the relationship of conceptual spaces and positions with the real geographical locations and geopositions that people will choose.

——————–

The destination image phrases American travelers use to describe China follow the power-law distribution:
a few phrases or attractions are well-known to many of the respondents;

Top two phrases ‘‘Great Wall’’ and ‘‘Beijing.’’ The two terms contribute to almost half of the phrase volume; about 85% of respondents use at least one of these two.

These may be the most frequent ontodimensions?

b) hundreds of niche phrases are used very few times individually, but collectively they account for a large volume.

Here niche is used in the context of products determined for certain specific user-groups.

These are the additional dimensions that specify the ontoposition?

The distribution of stereotypical and affective image phrases follow both the 80-20 rule and the long tail pattern, if one defines the ‘‘head’’ as the top 10 phrases in the latter case.

The top 10 phrases cover more than 73% of total volume.

The general managerial contribution lies in the validation of the importance of niche products and market in the Internet age. Different ‘‘head’’ and ‘‘tail’’ sections of image phrases might be suitable for different marketing channels.
Notably, there is no apparent cutoff point which divides popular image phrases from niche ones depending on the marketing purpose, the choice of top attributes is
rather arbitrary.

The most popular (i.e., the top 20%) phrases are vital since they represent the majority of tourists; however, it is unlikely that all those attributes could be promoted effectively.
To avoid diluting a brand’s identity or sending confusing brand messages, the positioning literature traditionally suggests destinations to focus on several key themes in their mass media marketing efforts.

This classic strategy accomplishes effectiveness by essentially compromising niche markets to more mainstream market.

The present study argues that such compromise is no longer valid in today’s environment and researchers, should pay more attention to those uncommon even obscure destination images: holders of the ‘‘tail’’ images are not only more knowledgeable about a destination, but also more likely to visit it.

A new segmentation approach might be employed based on the distinctiveness of
phrases the tourists type in. One can take full advantage of the aggregated niche markets.

In addition, providing more niche attractions and unique characteristics can also help alleviate the congestions in popular attractions and implicitly direct tourists to less visited areas.

——————————–
In really such travel images are created by people who visit places, take images and tag images positioning them in the multidimensional ontological space defined certain dimensions. Thereby as a collaborative activity of many travellers certain ontopositions will be attached to certain geographical locations.
Frequent dimensions in ontological and geographical places, which are usually searched first will all also have associations with additional and less frequently percieved dimensions that can lead travellers to discover other ontopositions than initially they could define (and als visit the associated geographical locations).

There is one figure from another article about creating literary places, which i recently tried to elaborate from the point of view of collaboratively created literary places. I have just added some keywords that may be important to distinguish such as:

a) if literary place is associated with one writer’s story, the collaboratively narrated place is created by many individuals as part of their personal narratives

b) if the traditional literary place is a location that is described in the writer’s story, the new collaboratively narrated places are part of each individual’s narrative trajectory, and we may also find from these trajectories some narrative trajectory patterns

c) if a literary place from writer’s story is associated with emotions described in the story, or emotions that readers have experienced while reading the story, the new collaboratively narrated literary places are especially focusing on this second aspect – personal feelings, emotions will become associated with the place and with its representational images as tags, and the associations may be thus aggregated

d) literary places are also real geographical locations the writer has chosen, which may be geotagged, if cretian images and emotions are geotagged by many in the same location, this becomes an attractive geoposition

e) it is suggested to add facilities and services to this geographical location to introduce what is the association with the story. The collaboratively narrated places externalize the activity potentials of the place perceived and activated by many storytellers. These will be associated with the geographical location using the ontospacial plane (tag-dimensions). The embodiment of such activity potenentials will become possible in geographical locations.

f) the literary places are usually added in some tourist itineraries, which are certain geographical trajectories. The ontospacial additional space will enable to orientate and choose directions in the geographical place – the narrative trajectory of the crowd may be used for defining personal narrative trajectory and the trajectory in geographical space.

g) If usually the literary places are developed later after the novel becomes popular and remains unchanged in spite of visitors who come there, the collaboratively narrated places emerge and evolve and change dynamically in result of visitor interactions with the places.

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An Ontospatial Representation of Writing Narratives in Hybrid Ecosystem

August 29, 2010

Tomorrow i will be at 3rd International Workshop on Social and Personal Computing for
Web‐Supported Learning Communites, DEXA 2010, Bilbao

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Human cognition as a chance-seeking system: comments

March 9, 2010

Last week i finally had the chance to meet in person with Emanuele Bardone from University of Pavia, with whom i have been in contact in concerns of affordance and niche ideas for about a year when i discovered papers about eco-cognitive niche construction he wrote with Lorenzo Magnani.

Emanuele has recently defended his PhD with the thesis HUMAN COGNITION AS CHANCE-SEEKING SYSTEM.

Now i could ask the questions that concerned me the most in his theory - why they consider niche as an individual’s space rather than seeing it as an abstract space that exists and is defined by many persons of certain culture.
For me in this part their theory is a bit misleading, the concept eco-cognitive niche as a distributed knowledge representation phenomenon should not indicate the cognitive space of one person. If such distributed cognitive space exists, the relationship how personal cognitive space would be influenced by culturally emergent niche and vice versa needs still to be explained. Bardone tends to use the word smart environment or ambient intelligence instead of traditional (biological) niche conceptualizations.

I interpret niche as a community or species based phenomenon (Pata, 2009).

Ecologies are formed as a result of many individuals taking actions. Thus, people with various perspectives are simultaneously at present in these ecologies and influencing them. Many abstract subspaces can be formed within ecologies.
These groups of individuals have something in common in their identity. They form communities who inhabit the same abstract learning spaces in the ecology – niches.
The formation of learning spaces as niches for specific learning-related activities happens through the social definition of several factors that influence learning.
Hutchinson (1957) defined a niche as a region (n-dimensional hypervolume) in a multi-dimensional space of environmental factors that affect the welfare of a species.
She also made difference of fundamental and realized niche – the former exist as the complex of all necessary environmental characteristics for certain species, the latter is formed under the pressure of all the currently available environmental characteristics in the competitive conditions with other species.
Niches have been conceptualized as the environmental gradients with certain ecological amplitude, where the ecological optimum marks the gradient peaks where the organisms are most abundant. In the gradient concept structural ecosystem properties are comprehended as concentration gradients in space and time (Müller, 1998). Any niche gradient is a peak of the fitness landscape of one environmental characteristic (Wright, 1931), which can be visualized in two-dimensional space as a graph with certain skew and width, determining the ecological amplitude. The shape of the fitness graph for certain characteristic can be plotted through the abundance of certain specimen benefitting of this characteristic. All niche gradients are situated and establish a multi-dimensional hyper-room, which axes are different environmental parameters. Thus, any learning niche in social systems is determined as a set of characteristics that people perceive and actualize as useful for their activities and wellbeing individually or in groups. Each niche gradient defines one dimension of the space. The fundamental niche term applies for all the possibly usable software tools and services, artifacts and people, while the realized niches form under the constrained conditions of resource availability.

In the elaborated framework of ecological learning i support the idea that affordances are the perceived possibilities for both thinking and doing, what learners evoke and signify during their actual interaction with an artifact or tool and with each other. People determine the personal learning affordances when using their personal learning space (personal learning environment). Hence, the learning affordance descriptions involve the learning action verbs, people who are involved in action, and mediators of actions (various tools, services and artifacts). Any individual conceptualizes learning affordances personally, but the range of similar learning affordance conceptualizations may be clustered into more general affordance groups. These collaboratively accumulated affordance clusters may be interpreted and used as the abstract learning niche gradients. The affordances as niche gradients are socially developed. Using the affordance conception for defining learning space dimensions for the communities, we can bring the emergent ecological properties from the individual level to the new structural level that is niches in the ecologies.

Bardone uses niche term from the individual’s viewpoint and for the community level he has applied sometimes ambient intelligence or smart environment.

AmI can be considered a form of cognitive niche enrichment. Ambient Intelligence adds up a new layer to the traditional ways of disembodying the mind: Ambient Intelligence basically puts those sophisticated and smart devices – mimicking our mind – into our environments. In doing so even our familiar objects may embed high-level computing power [Cook & Das, 2007].

Collecting such an amount of data – and aggregating it – allows smart environments to provide us with feedbacks that exhibit a degree of adaptability that cannot be compared with any other traditional environment or cognitive niche.

HOWEVER, CAN we REALLY SAY THIS INDIVIDUAL DISTRIBUTED COGNITIVE SPACE IS A NICHE? (i am a bit worried of the concept use in individual terms).
WHAT MAKES IT A NICHE?, FOR EXAMPLE WILL we LOOK THE FITNESS and adaptability AT INDIVIDUAL LEVEL AS SOME KIND OF REPETITIONS OF CERTAIN COGNITIVE ACTS?
SEEMS AS Bardone LOOKs INDIVIDUAL PERSON AS A COGNITIVELY UNIQUE SPECIES WHEREAS HIS THOUGHTS/ACTIONS ARE AS THE SPECIMEN OF COGNITION of that species THAT TRY TO ADAPT TO THE DYNAMIC COGNITIVE NICHE OF AN INDIVIDUAL.

AND, CAN we EXPLAIN HOW THE DISEMBODIED EXTERNALIZED PART OF individual COGNITIVE SPACE (part of your eco-cognitive niche) WOULD INTERACT WITH THAT WHAT I CALL NICHE (for communities/cultures) AND Brdone CALLs THE SMART ENVIRONMENT OR AMBIENT INTELLIGENCE? It is clear that for adaptability to culture each individual would need another adaptation, fitness to the COMMUNITY culture and its NICHE.

***

The other aspect that we discussed was his idea how human beings overcome their internal limitations by (1) disembodying thoughts and then (2) re-projecting internally that occurring outside to find new ways of thinking. He explained that the internal representation as a cognitive structure is kind of bounded, fixed (constraints) whereas the external representation allows to bring into internal representations new elements (chances). For me this explanation of fixed internal cognitive structures was not convincing. I tend to believe that in the moment of any action the internal and external representations could be considered as one distributed mediation system.
It seems that humans extend themselves in the moment of action integrating temporally some features that they perceive in the environment to their cognitive perception of their body. For example other people, some “tools”, some language concepts, some artifacts could be perceived as chances. This coupling possibility itself could be memorized and reused as personal or cultural preference the next time people plan actions. If that features would be available culturally and in the environment these may sharpen persons’ attention and trigger them to extend certain cognitive resources similar way as they had already used them as mediators. Maybe the time of our discussion was too limited to be aware of how this cognitive embodying-disembodying takes place in his theory.

The basic principles in Bardone’s theory are:

Human cognition is chance-seeking system that is developed within an evolutionary framework based on the notion of cognitive niche construction.

Humans are powerful eco-cognitive engineers.

Humans do not hold a complete internal representation of the environment; but they use the environment itself as a model insofar as they can immediately access it in terms of those action capabilities, which emerge in the interplay between humans and their environment.

Humans use the environment itself as a representation by manipulating and even creating it so as to find room for new cognitive chances not immediately available.

Humans turn environmental constraints into ecological chances when facing the challenges posed by the environment itself.

Decision making activities (and the way to obtain successful results) derive from the way individuals interact with the environment;
This interaction involves internal and external resources, and the way they are represented;
This process is dynamic, in the sense that cognitive capabilities depend on the exploitation of external resources and on their representation (time and way of modifying the interaction);
Interaction and dynamics imply uncertainty and complexity, in terms of difficulties deciphering between internal and external influences;
The “smart interplay” between the two is not limited to computational capabilities and, even if we narrowly focus on them, they are not only internal, but depend from the “smart interplay” itself;
Thus, our computational capabilities (or rationality la Simon) are not limited, since bounds depend on the “smart interplay” between internal and external resources and, moreover, the result of the decisionmaking process is embedded in the way the broad cognitive system employs, represents, and acknowledges external resources.

Humans constantly delegate cognitive functions to the environment: (Zhang, 1997; Gatti and Magnani, 2005; Knuuttila and Honkela, 2005) argue that the traditional notion of representation as a kind of abstract mental structure is misleading.

Internal representation does not mirror the entire representational task, because it is only a part of it.

External representations can be considered as “tacit procedures” (Polanyi, 1966) that emerge from, and are prompted by, the interaction (coupling) between humans and the environment.

If some cognitive performances can be viewed as the result of a smart interplay between humans and the environment, the representation of a problem is partly internal but it also depends on the smart interplay between the individual and the environment.

Human cognitive behavior consists in acting upon those anchors which we have secured a cognitive function to via cognitive niche construction. And those anchors are basically affordances.
Affordances can be related to the variable (degree of) abductivity of a configuration of signs.

Humans have at their disposal a standard or pre-wired endowment of affordances, but at the same time they can extend and modify the range of what can afford them through the development of appropriate cognitive abductive skills.

For making plasticity work is to turn environmental constraints into ecological chances.

We build and manipulate cognitive niches so as to unearth additional resources for behavior control. This activity of eco-cognitive engineering is basically what describes the most our idea of learning as an ecological task.

Basically, human beings overcome their internal limitations by (1) disembodying thoughts and then (2) re-projecting internally that occurring outside to find new ways of thinking.

Ecological approach aims at understanding cognitive systems in terms of their environmental situatedness (Clancey, 1997; Magnani, 2005). Within this framework, chances are that “information” which is not stored internally in memory or already available in an external reserve but that has to be “extracted” and then picked up upon occasion. This process of environmental selection (Odling-Smee, 1988) allows living creatures to build and shape the “ecological niches”.

Based on his thesis, Emanuele Bardone is currently writing the book:
Seeking Chances: From Biased Rationality to Distributed Cognition

External structures, which ultimately are meshed into our cognitive niches, exhibit what we may call a cognitive (semiotic) agency. That is, once externalized and secured to external supports, ideas, thoughts, and even intentions, cease to be what they originally meant to be. They acquire a public status; that means they go under a process of negotiation, which eventually leads to conventionalization and/or entrenchment [Tyl´en, 2007]. This can be viewed also as an hybridization process, which not only regards human beings and their surroundings, but also those objects and artefacts that enter the cognitive niche. Secondly, human externalizations become part of the so-called eco-cognitive inheritance and, therefore, being subjected to further modifications and exploitations insofar as they can be also the basis for the creation and development of additional eco-cognitive capabilities.

The neurological counterpart of this process is a process of brain re-configuration and re-organization – a rehearsed recapitulation – which allows our brain to disentangle itself from the perception-action cycle typical of the on-line thinking [Magnani, 2009].

We will discuss the case of Ambient Intelligence as a case of cognitive niche enrichment. We
will claim AmI can be considered a form of cognitive niche enrichment. Ambient Intelligence adds up a new layer to the traditional ways of disembodying the mind: Ambient Intelligence basically puts those sophisticated and smart devices – mimicking our mind – into our environments. In doing so even our familiar objects may embed high-level computing power. More generally, we argue that Ambient intelligence deals not only with reproducing some kinds of sophisticated human cognitive performances, but also with paying attention on an eco-cognitive dimension of computing – what is called context-aware computing [Cook & Das, 2007].

Collecting such an amount of data – and aggregating it – allows smart environments to provide us with feedbacks that exhibit a degree of adaptability that cannot be compared with any other traditional environment or cognitive niche.

Ambient Intelligence can be surely considered one of the most sophisticated ways humans have invented to distribute cognitive functions to external objects. In this case, the massive cognitive delegation contributes to a radical re-distribution of the cognitive load humans have subjected to. Basically, Ambient Intelligence improves people’s experience in their environments [Cook & Das, 2007].

Adapting affordances are those affordances that help the agent exploit latent environmental possibilities providing additional clues.

Simon’s statement can be fruitfully interpreted that way: humans overcame the limits of their bounded cognitive system by delegating cognitive functions to the environment. Suggestions, recommendations, and the like are all external resources that are socially available, and that indeed contribute to lessening various limitations.

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Interactive television seminar: developing new interactive experiences for television audiences

January 27, 2010

Today we had a guest researcher’s seminar in HTK. I have taken some notes from his ideas.

Teijo Pellinen
doctoral student of Lapland Uni

Artistic search as new source of innovation. In Finland there are Sibelius academy and Fine Art academy where you can do artistic research related to domains such as opera etc. In Aalto University and Univ. of Lapland there are artistic research methods applied to art and design research.

Interactive narratives you can find in videogames.

To understand interactivity the narrativity in interactive television must be cut down to mental representation dimension, so narrative is emerging in the spectator’s mind through the interaction with the film.

Social media is a lot about storytelling. Traditional telephone conversation has changed from professional interaction to domestic enjoinment in time. In core it is a lot about telling stories, skipping technological functionalities. Same we see in modern social media services such as Twitter, Blogspot, Myspace etc.

Always when you watch narrative you are willing to see the narrative, the will to hear is the will to be seen. When we experience the story we also tell the story.

Not so many interactive, sustainable television programs exist (quiz games, chatting programs), it is quite new phenomena in TV.
Regular interactive TV programs have been around a decade. Lottery TV program is interactive if you participate with your ticket.

Big question is: What kind of experiences can be transmitted in TV to audience interaction?

Examples:

Almost non-existing narrative
Akvaario program in Finland.
Sheep TV
Mind Saver (interactivity of taming a wild animal)
The age of Garbage (work in progress) (birds are recycling garbage in TV screen, if you call the program contacts you and the birds can come to your telephone and you can interactively control the game in your phone). television + game + story (it might be a Facebook application)

Control interactivity is established with phonecalls

A story between stories: algorithmic and audience control of video segments in an experimental interactive television programme
Chris Hales; Teijo Pellinen; Markus Castrén

Digital Creativity
2006, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 234–242

TV and art are polarised, antagonistic. You cannot say i do art in TV.
If i want to develop interactive TV programs, a good way is to make an artistic research. Methodology should grow from research.

Three models are applied in interactive art research of Teijo:

a) Kari Kuuti 1996 activity theory model

We think how individual is related with the community?
How individual is related with the target?
The reflection – how the target is related with the community creates the communal aspect of the interactive TV program?

b) Eija Timonen’s Practical based research model

According to this model we can create knowledge in artistic research, theoretical work is growing and shaping the practical research. The research question is still changing all the time, but eventually it will be fixed.

c) The relation of art and research (the relation of design and research)

Research about art
Research for art
Research through art

Results of Teijo’s studies

Sheep TV: people were willing to interact with the program and were long time interested in interaction. Question why are people willing to interact? Is it a game, a social game, is it just looping nature video that is attractive? Quite often 2 people started interaction (dialogie) with eac other (2 telefone numbers) to control the lamb.

The Mind Saver included database to record interaction.
The popularity of the program was surprising, a lot of software components crashed by the amount of interactivity.
Many callers called several times.
What to do with the data? The data indicate that people are really willing to interact.
In the Mind Saver there were more than 100 000 telephone calls, website got 2 000 entries. I assume that the website didnt get enough entertainment value as a component in interactive television.

Big question:

What kind of experiences can we transmit through audience interaction?

Is repetition key to new way of narrative?

This point i loved the most, because it is really related with the ontospacial view of writing digital narratives i have tried to explore. Practically, in ontospacial view we see repetition emerge in spacial terms, people come back and interact with the certain spaces meaningful or them in ontospace.

Repetitive action can be basis for new routine

Interactivity brings intimacy

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