Abstract

In current interaction design research there is a widespread belief that situated action and embodied interaction should replace mental representations in the theoretical account of human cognition. This exclusion of representation is however diagnosed as a sign of representation-phobia by Anderson (2003) who claims that it is misguided. This paper aims to show why and how it can be overcome. Initially, a literature review will show how representation-phobia manifests itself through two different versions in HCI research. On the basis of this I argue that representation-phobia leads to a theoretical dead end. Then, by drawing on semiotics and recent findings from cognitive research, I argue that we cannot understand the rich complexity of embodied interaction unless we furnish our thinking with a dynamic notion of representation.

Keywords:

Cognition, Embodied Interaction, Representation, Experiential Knowledge, Semiotics

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Representation-phobia and the Complexity of Embodied Interaction

In current interaction design research there is a widespread belief that situated action and embodied interaction should replace mental representations in the theoretical account of human cognition. This exclusion of representation is however diagnosed as a sign of representation-phobia by Anderson (2003) who claims that it is misguided. This paper aims to show why and how it can be overcome. Initially, a literature review will show how representation-phobia manifests itself through two different versions in HCI research. On the basis of this I argue that representation-phobia leads to a theoretical dead end. Then, by drawing on semiotics and recent findings from cognitive research, I argue that we cannot understand the rich complexity of embodied interaction unless we furnish our thinking with a dynamic notion of representation.

 

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