Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Augmented Social Cognition

  • Cognition: the ability to remember, think, and reason; the faculty of knowing.
  • Social Cognition: the ability of a group to remember, think, and reason; the construction of knowledge structures by a group.  (not quite the same as in the branch of psychology that studies the cognitive processes involved in social interaction, though included)
  • Augmented Social Cognition: Supported by systems, the enhancement of the ability of a group to remember, think, and reason; the system-supported construction of knowledge structures by a group.


Anonymous said...

How does augmented social cognition differ from groupthink?

From a group viewpoint I am fond of Elliott Jaques idea of timespan, that different individuals have different capacities to look outwards and this ability to think ahead in time determines fit for ideal work.

The reason PARC has been so successful is because it attracts people with a longer time span, this is only evidenced in how Xerox as a company failed to recognize the development potential of technologies produced at PARC, which subsequently were handled by people who did have this time span capability viz: Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs.

Then again, maybe it is the augmented social cognition which was the barrier that prevented PARC from becoming a Microsoft or an Apple themselves - for e.g. Jobs not only saw the technology potential as PARC developed (group mind) but also executed this in terms of time span.

BTW it would help to know who the social cognition group is. I previously attributed to a Raluca, who it turns out is a writer of a PDF, i.e. is there more than just Ed in this group, or is Ed the point man. No worries - I found this blog excellent in terms of gaining an appreciation of people who operate in different fields to my own.

Simply in the act of my returning to this blog is acknowledgment of that because my purpose here is to utilize the long tail of all blogs, not simply the wasted effort of being a temporal commentator who lets life pass by and reads blogs that run their chronological course. I don't mean to get existential here when simplicity should be numb nuts.

In that regard, please view my contribution here purely in terms of beginners mind.

Thank You


Ed H. Chi said...


Thanks for your comments. I think you might do well to look at Piaget's theory of knowledge acquisition. Interestingly, in development psychology, the ideas here of assimilation (to bring ideas into one's world without changing one's representation) and accommodation (changing one's representation to fit the new data) fits well with what you said.

Often we don't have the time to do accommodation, so it is easier to do assimilation (and throw out data that didn't fit one's model).

Groupthink can be dangerous precisely because it tends to do assimilation instead of accommodation.

Regarding your question about who the ASC group is: I changed the right sidebar recently to point to our group members. I'm the area manager, and Raluca was a postdoc in my group at the time of the post. I hope you're still reading our blog!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jon Awbrey said...

I gave you guys a mention here.

Speaking of which, Mathoverflow is another site that would be interesting to study.

Ed H. Chi said...

Mathoverflow is an interesting site. Thanks for pointing us to it. Math and statistics is very important to our work, indeed. I just got back from 2 week vacation, so I hope to browse more of others' answer to that question soon.

mark oehlert said...

You cite Piaget; wonder what you think of this post on him and associated comments. http://donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com/2009/10/piaget-why-teach-this-stuff.html

Ed H. Chi said...

mark: The whole area of learning psychology is huge, and I only know the surface. I mentioned Piaget really in the context of the idea of schema theory, which is a learning theory that posits that the representation of the ideas in a person's head is an organized network of mental structures.


I know less of Piaget's work in child development, although that's a topic of interest to me. Piaget's ideas seems to have influenced RC Anderson's work on Schemata.

It is interesting to think about whether shared representations within social contexts leads to inability to jump out of fixed solutions. Hence my comment about "Groupthink can be dangerous precisely because it tends to do assimilation instead of accommodation."