Friday, May 10, 2013
Tools of Thought
When thought overwhelms the mind, the mind puts thought into the world. Thinking uses words, gesture, diagrams, and artifacts to expand the mind. Gesture, diagrams, and artifacts have an advantage over language in that they use space and elements and actions in it to represent thoughts that are spatial or metaphorically spatial. This allows our proficiency in spatial reasoning to reason abstractly. Space, elements in space, and actions have meanings both concrete and abstract.
Renowned cognitive psychologist, Dr. Barbara Tversky has made groundbreaking contributions to the areas of memory, perception, categorization, and spatial cognition. A characteristic of Tversky’s research is a persistent interest in the relations between people’s cognitive systems and the technologies they use to augment and reconstitute them—from cave paintings to scientific diagrams to cartoons to computerized visualization. As a result of making these connections, her work is cited widely by computer scientists, educators, architects, and geographers as well as by her fellow psychologists. Her lecture, “Finding Ideas” will focus on the relationship between spatial cognition and the technologies we use to visualize information.