Sunday, March 15, 2009

ID FMP: Types of Cognitives Processes

In my last post I identified two different modes of cognition. Here I will continue my investigation into the scope of cognition by identifying six different types of cognitive processes, taken from the book Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction. My focus will remain on the questions: “what is cognition? And what are the main types cognitive activities?”

The six types of cognitive processes that I will describe are attention, perception, memory, language, learning, and higher reasoning. The processes are interdependent and occur simultaneously. They play a role in experiential and reflective modes of cognition. Here is a description of each process along with a few related implications.

Attention: process for selecting an object on which to concentrate. Object can be a physical or abstract one (such as an idea) that resides out in the world or in the mind.

Design implications
: make information visible when it needs attending to; avoid cluttering the interface with too much information.

Perception: process for capturing information from the environment and processing it. Enables people to perceive entities and objects in the world. Involves input from sense organs (such as eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and fingers) and the transformation of this information into perception of entities (such as objects, words, tastes, and ideas).

Design implications
: all representations of actions, events and data (whether visual, graphical, audio, physical, or a combination thereof) should be easily distinguishable by users.

Memory: process for storing, finding, and accessing knowledge. Enables people to recall and recognize entities, and to determine appropriate actions. Involves filtering new information to identify what knowledge should be stored. Context and duration of interaction are two important criteria that function as filters.

Design implications
: do not overload user’s memory; leverage recognition as opposed to recall when possible; provide a variety of different ways for users to encode information digitally.

Language: processes for understanding and communicating through language via reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Though these language-media have much in common, they differ on numerous dimensions including: permanence, scan-ability, cultural roles, use in practice, and cognitive effort requirements

Design implications
: minimize length of speech-based menus; accentuate intonation used in speech-based systems; ensure that font size and type allow for easy reading.

Learning: process for synthesizing new knowledge and know-how. Involves connecting new information and experiences with existing knowledge. Interactivity is an important element in the learning process.

Design implications
: leverage constraints to guide new users; encourage exploration by new users; link abstract concepts to concrete representations to facilitate understanding.

Higher reasoning: processes that involve reflective cognition such as problem-solving, planning, reasoning, decision-making. Most are conscious processes that require discussion, with oneself or others, and the use of artifacts such as books, and maps. Extent to which people can engage in higher reasoning is usually correlated to their level of expertise in a specific domain.

Design implications: make it easy for users with higher levels of expertise to access additional information and functionality to carry out tasks more efficiently and effectively.

[source: Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction]

** What the hell is ID FMP? **

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