Christopher Lueg and Rolf Pfeifer (1997).
Cognition, Situatedness, and Situated Design
In: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Cognitive Technology (CT 97) pp. 124-135. Aizu, Japan, August 25 - 28, 1997.

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In the rationalistic perspective, the human expert is seen as a data-processing system having properties similar to computers. As a consequence, the design of man-machine interfaces, workplaces, and organizational procedures has been mainly driven by technological advances, focusing on replacing humans rather than supporting their actual needs. A more appropriate explanation of human cognition is based on the notion of situatedness: human cognition is considered to be emergent from the interaction of the human with the environment, i.e., the current situation the human is involved in. More generally spoken, the system-environment coupling is a prerequisite of cognition and cannot be abstracted away. In this paper, we summarize the rationalistic perspective, its pitfalls, and its (undesirable) influences on design. As an alternative, we propose ``Situated Design'', a design methodology capitalizing on the notion of the human as a situated agent. We demonstrate how ``Situated Design'' can be applied to workplace design and computer system design, and we outline a situated perspective on man-machine interface design supporting humans in coping with the so-called ``information overload'' phenomenon.

Christopher Lueg / revised 16/06/97