Distributed Cognition Theory – Hollan, Hutchins, Kirsh

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I liked reading this paper. I seemed to be the most relevant to my own workplace, from all papers until now.


This papers offers an integrated research framework for human-computer interaction.

Let’s start with the definition of cognition. Cognition isn’t the same as “kennis” in Dutch, as Bram warned us. “Cognition is those process by which the sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used.

Human information processing psychology was the dominant theory for over 20 years. Hollan et al propose the distributed cognition theory  as a theoretical foundation for human-computer interaction research and a fertile framework for designing and evaluating digital artifacts. It is tailored to understand interactions among people and technology.

An integrated framework for research combines ethnographic observation and controlled experimentation as a basis for theoretically informed design of digital work materials and collaborative workplaces. Continue Reading