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Distributed cognition and affordances

February 28, 2007

From:
Article in press:
Cognition & Pragmatics, 00, 000-000.
Distributed Cognition, Representation, and Affordance
Jiajie Zhang
Vimla L. Patel

http://acad88.sahs.uth.tmc.edu/courses/hi6301/affordance.html

The most interesting idea of the paper is how they suggest to describe affordances: either as the constraints or as allowances of actions. This is well in accordance of the theoretical framework we have followed.

In terms of the theory of distributed representations, affordances are distributed representations extended across the environment and the organism. The structures and information in the environment specifies the external representational space. The physical structures of the organism and the structures and mechanisms of internal biological, perceptual, and cognitive faculties specify the internal representational space. The external and internal representations together specify the distributed representational space: the affordance space. The external and internal representational spaces can be described by either constraints or allowable actions. Constraints are the negations of allowable actions.

They refer to certain affordance types, i find this one interesting, because the same example has been brought in itersubjectivity studies:
Cognitive Affordance
Affordances of this type are provided by cultural conventions. For example, for traffic lights, red means “stop”, yellow means “prepare to stop”, and green means “go”.

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