Cognition in the wild /
Edwin Hutchins.
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1995.
xviii, 381 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.
More Details
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1995.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [375]-378) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1995-10:
Hutchins, a MacArthur Foundation Fellow (cognitive science, Univ. of California San Diego), has produced a deeply interdisciplinary book that uses the task of navigating a modern ship as the setting for examining fundamental questions about the relationships among the individual, social, and cultural levels of analysis. Because controlled, laboratory studies screen out variables that play a central role in everyday cognition, Hutchins believes that human cognition must be studied in real world contexts. He examines how groups of individuals represent concrete problems using both ideational and mechanical media, and how they operate on these representations to produce (or fail to produce) adaptive solutions. Along the way we learn about historical and culturally diverse systems of navigation, the origins and current status of artificial intelligence, and the drawbacks of drawing distinct boundaries between cognitive processes that occur inside and outside the skin. After an inviting narrative about navigation, the book rises to a challenging level of abstraction. It is worth the effort, especially for advanced students interested in cognitive science, anthropology, or the ecological approach to cognition. Upper-division undergraduate through faculty. S. I. Perloe; Haverford College
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Choice, October 1995
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Main Description
Edwin Hutchins combines his background as an anthropologist and an open ocean racing sailor and navigator in this account of how anthropological methods can be combined with cognitive theory to produce a new reading of cognitive science. His theoretical insights are grounded in an extended analysis of ship navigation - its computational basis, its historical roots, its social organization, and the details of its implementation in actual practice aboard large ships. The result is an unusual interdisciplinary approach to cognition in culturally constituted activities outside the laboratory - "in the wild." Hutchins examines a set of phenomena that have fallen in the cracks between the established disciplines of psychology and anthropology, bringing to light a new set of relationships between culture and cognition. The standard view is that culture affects the cognition of individuals. Hutchins argues instead that cultural activity systems have cognitive properties of their own that are different from the cognitive properties of the individuals who participate in them. Each action for bringing a large naval vessel into port, for example, is informed by culture: the navigation team can be seen as a cognitive and computational system. Introducing Navy life and work on the bridge, Hutchins makes a clear distinction between the cognitive properties of an individual and the cognitive properties of a system. In striking contrast to the usual laboratory tasks of research in cognitive science, he applies the principal metaphor of cognitive science - cognition as computation (adopting David Marr's paradigm) - to the navigation task. After comparing modern Western navigation with the method practiced in Micronesia, Hutchins explores the computational and cognitive properties of systems that are larger than an individual. He then turns to an analysis of learning or change in the organization of cognitive systems at several scales. Hutchins's conclusion illustrates the costs of ignoring the cultural nature of cognition, pointing to the ways in which contemporary cognitive science can be transformed by new meanings and interpretations. A Bradford Book
Table of Contents
Welcome Aboard
Narrative: A Crisis
Through the Main Gate
The Ship
The Gator Navy and the Other Navies
Across the Brow
Reconciling the Chart and the World
Up the Ladder
Military Identities
Enlisted Rates and Ratings
Officer Ranks
Finding One's Way Around a Ship
On the 05 Level
Navigating Large Ships
The Researcher's Identity
On the Bridge: Standard Steaming Watch
The Primary Duty of the QMOW
Sources of Information for Position Fixing
Visual Bearings
Celestial Observations
Pit Sword And Dummy Log
At The Chart Table
Navigation Charts
The Secondary Duty of the QMOW
The Tertiary Duty of the QMOW
The Combat Information Center
Air Boss
Sea And Anchor Detail
Narrative: Sighting
Navigation as Computation
Marr's Levels of Description
A Computational Account of Navigation
Lines of Position
Circles of Position
Combining Positional Constraints: Position Fixing
The Position-Displacement Constraint
Course Planning
Dead Reckoning
Depth-Contour Matching
The Distance-Rate-Time Constraint
Summary of Constraints
Representational Assumptions of Western Navigation
Units and Frames of Reference
Geographic Position
The Nautical Mile
The Computational Properties Of Chart Projections
Rhumb-line sailing
Radio-beacon navigation
Representational Assumptions of Micronesian Navigation
Some Anomalous Interpretations
A Conceptual Blind Spot
An Alternative Model
Pre-Modern Western Navigation
The Divergence of Traditions
The Crystallization of Knowledge and Practice in the Physical Structure of Artifacts
The Astrolabe
The Compass Rose And Reckoning The Tides
Measurement And Technologies Of Digital Computation
The Chip Log
The Chart As A Model Of The World
Taking The Measure Of The Earth
Social Problems Of Chart Construction
The Computational Ecology of Navigation Tools
The Transparency of Cultural Representations
How We Fail to See Culture (Ours and Theirs)
The Implementaion of Contemporary Pilotage
A Broader Sense of Computation
The Fix Cycle as an Implementation of the Computation
Mappings across Representations
The World
The Alidade
The Phone Circuit And Bearing Record Log
The Hoey
The Chart
The Fathometer
Stepping Inside the Cognitive System
Levels of Analysis and Hierarchy of Task Reduction
A Cognitive Account of a Navigator's Work
Timing the Cycle
Identifying Landmarks
Aiming the Alidade
Reading Bearings
Reporting and Remembering Bearings
Recording Bearings and Depths
Setting the State of the Hoey
Plotting and Evaluating the Fix
Translation With Preservation Of Directional Relation
Parallel Ruler
Evaluating the Fix
Extending the Dead Reckoning Track
Four Ways To Do Distance-Rate-Time Problems
Choosing Landmarks
Pipelining Activities
Constructing the Task Setting
Computation of Entry (Exit) Track
Updating the Chart
Computation of the Compass Deviation Table
The Compilation and Posting of the Tide and Current Graphs
Cashing In the Precomputation Precomputations Redistribute Cognitive Workload across Time
Precomputations Transform the Tasks Performed
Precomputations Capture Task-Invariant Properties on Multiple Time Scales
Precomputations Are a Window on a Cultural Process
Where Is the Computation?
Relating Mental Activity to Computation
Knowing Why Things Work
The Organization of Team Performances
Sea and Anchor Detail
Social Organization as Computational Architecture
Activity Score
Parallel Activities
Bottom-Up and Top-Down Processes
Human Interfaces
Setting a depth threshold detector
Continuous bearings
Communication and Memory
Task Allocation and Equipment Layout
Sequential Control of Action
The Navigation Team As A Production System
Social Structure And Goal Structure
Beam Bearings in Sea and Anchor Detail
Why Some Bearings Change More Rapidly Than Others
Example of Effects of Beam Bearings
The Rule of Thumb
Configuring the Team
Instructions Concerning Beam Bearings
Failure to Uncouple Shoot and Report Actions
Going Beyond the Job Description
Shared Task Performances
Distributed Memory
Recorder Cuing the Plotter
Landmark Descriptions
Recorder Setting Up Plotting Tool for Plotter
Flexibility and Robustness
Performance as a Language of Social Interaction
How to Say Things with Actions
Computational Properties of the Navigation Team
Communication and Task Decompositions
Language Behavior as a Determinant of the Cognitive Properties of Groups
Communication in a Shared World
The Negotiation of Meaning in Interaction
Confirmation Bias in Individuals and Groups
Confirmation Bias in Formation of Interpretations
Interpretation Formation as Constraint Satisfaction
Constraint-Satisfaction Networks
Communities Of Networks
Parameters Of The Models
Distributions of Individual Properties
Communication Parameters
Social Organization and the Cognitive Properties of Groups
The Commonsense Architecture Of Group Intelligence
Producing A Diversity Of Interpretations
Organizational Solutions to the Problem of Reaching a Decision
Hierarchy without Communication
Hierarchy with Communication
Quaker Decision Rule--Unanimity or Nothing
Demographics of Conceptual Space: Voting
A Fundamental Tradeoff for Organizations
Navigation as a Context for Learning
The Developmental Trajectory of the Quartermaster
Sea and Anchor Detail
System Properties
The Distribution of Knowledge
The Decompositions of Tasks
The Horizon of Observation
Open Interactions
Open Tools
Learning from Error
Designing for Error
Controlling the Effects of Error
Error Detection
Recovery From Error
Learning From Error
Learning by Detecting and Correcting
Learning from the Correction of One's Own Mistakes
Learning from the Correction of the Mistakes of Others
Tradeoffs in Error Management
The Social Formation of Competence in Navigation
Standard Steaming Watch
Learning in Context
Theoretical Perspective for the Construction of a Model
Constructing Action Sequences
Written Procedure as Mediating Structure
Consequences of Mediated Task Performance
Learning The Sequence Of Steps Descriptions
Learning The Sequence Of Step Meanings
Learning The Sequence Of Actions
Why We Can't Say What We Do
Other Kinds Of Mediating Structure
Why We Talk To Ourselves
Organizational Learning
The Adaptive Response
Computational Structure Driven By Data Availability
Emergence Of Mediating Structure
Partial Modularization
The New Stable Solution
Memory Limitations And Availability Of Data
The Normative Computational Sequence, C+D=M, M+V=T, T+RB=TB
The Modular Computation
Fit Of Social And Computational Structure
Adaptation by Design?
Adaptation and Local Design
Evolution and Design
Cultural Cognition
The Costs of Failing to See Cognition as a Cultural Process
Marginalization of Culture
Mistaking the Properties of the System for Those of the Individual
Construction Of Primitive Thought
How Cognitive Science Put Symbols in the Head
The "Official" History of Cognitive Science
An Alternative History of Cognitive Science
Studying Cognition in the Wild
Cognition in the Intersection of Cultural Processes
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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