Cognition, Technology & Work

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 337–348 | Cite as

Coping with complexity in home hemodialysis: a fresh perspective on time as a medium of Distributed Cognition

Original Article

Abstract

The existing literature on Distributed Cognition (DCog) mostly presents the temporal distribution of cognition in terms of system evolution that happens over time. In this paper, we illustrate how cognition can also be distributed through time in more immediate ways, through four principles we developed while studying how renal patients cope with the complexity of home hemodialysis. These principles are temporal assignments to tasks to aid prospective remembering; temporal arrangement of tasks to help deal with anticipated problems; temporal distribution of a task plan to avoid omission of steps; and temporal re-arrangement of tasks to reduce peak complexity. Like the physical environment, the time continuum is an external medium that can support distributed cognitive processes, serving as a representation for task reminders and allowing actors to organize the order, duration, and spacing of tasks to reduce complexity in cognitive work. These principles can highlight problems and opportunities in the design of socio-technical systems, by explicitly considering time as another medium that can be used to support DCog in short-term activity.

Keywords

Distributed Cognition Time Temporal Ethnography Home hemodialysis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to all participants for the time, expertise, and experiences they shared with us. We also thank all the reviewers, whose comments helped improved this paper. This research is funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grant EP/G059063/1.

References

  1. Ackerman M, Halverson C (1998) Considering an organization’s memory. In: Proceedings of computer-supported cooperative work, CSCW’98, ACM, New York, pp 39–48Google Scholar
  2. Artman H, Waern Y (1999) Distributed cognition in an emergency co-ordination center. Cogn Technol Work 1:237–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bang M, Timpka T (2003) Cognitive tools in medical teamwork: the spatial arrangement of patient records. Methods Inf Med 42(4):331–336Google Scholar
  4. Cohen T, Blatter B, Almeida C, Shortliffe E, Patel VL (2006) A cognitive blueprint of collaboration in context: distributed cognition in the psychiatric emergency department. Artif Intell Med 37(2):73–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cole M, Engeström Y (1993) A cultural-historical approach to distributed cognition. In: Salomon G (ed) Distributed cognitions: psychological and educational considerations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 1–46Google Scholar
  6. Fischer G, Arias E, Carmien S, Eden H, Gorman A, Konomi SI, Sullivan J (2004) Supporting collaboration and distributed cognition in context-aware pervasive computing environments. In: Meeting of the human computer interaction consortium ‘computing off the desktop’. [WWW document.] URL: http://l3d.cs.colorado.edu/~gerhard/papers/hcic2004.pdf (last accessed 22 March 2007)
  7. Flanagan JC (1954) The critical incident technique. Psychol Bull 51(4):327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Flor NV, Hutchins E (1992) Analyzing distributed cognition in software teams: a case study of collaborative programming during adaptive software maintenance. In: Koenemann-Belliveau J, Moher T, Robertson S (eds) Empirical studies of programmers: fourth workshop. Ablex, Norwood, NJ, pp 36–64Google Scholar
  9. Furniss D (2008) Beyond problem identification: valuing methods in a ‘system usability practice’. Doctoral dissertation, University College LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Furniss D, Blandford A (2006) Understanding emergency medical dispatch in terms of distributed cognition: a case study. Ergonomics 49(12–13):1174–1203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Garbis C, Waern Y (1999) Team co-ordination and communication in a rescue command staff—the role of public representations. Le Travail Humain 62(3), Special issue on Human-Machine Co-operation, 273–291Google Scholar
  12. Glenberg AM (2006) Radical changes in cognitive process due to technology: a jaundiced view. Pragmat Cogn 14(2):263–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gutwin C, Greenberg S (2004) The importance of awareness for team cognition in distributed collaboration. In: Salas E, Fiore S (eds) Team cognition: understanding the factors that drive process and performance. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp 177–201Google Scholar
  14. Halverson CA (1995) Inside the cognitive workplace: new technology and air traffic control. Ph.D. thesis, Department of Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego, CAGoogle Scholar
  15. Halverson CA (2002) Activity theory and distributed cognition: or what does CSCW need to DO with theories? Comput Support Coop Work (CSCW) 11(1):243–267MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  16. Hazlehurst B, McMullen CK, Gorman PN (2007) Distributed cognition in the heart room: how situation awareness arises from coordinated communications during cardiac surgery. J Biomed Inform 40(5):539–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hildreth P, Kimble C, Wright P (2000) Communities of practice in the distributed international environment. J Knowl Manag 4(1):27–38Google Scholar
  18. Hollan JD, Hutchins EL (2010) Opportunities and challenges for augmented environments: a distributed cognition perspective. In: Lahlou S (ed) Designing user friendly augmented work environments, Springer, London, pp 237–259Google Scholar
  19. Hollan J, Hutchins E, Kirsh D (2000) Distributed cognition: toward a new foundation for human-computer interaction research. ACM Trans Comput-Hum Interact (TOCHI) 7(2):174–196Google Scholar
  20. Hutchins E (1995) Cognition in the wild. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  21. Hutchins E (2001) International encyclopedia of social and behavioural sciences. Elsevier Science, MichiganGoogle Scholar
  22. Hutchins E, Klausen T (1996) Distributed cognition in an airline cockpit. In: Middleton D, Engeström Y (eds) Communication and cognition at work. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 15–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kirsh D (1995) The intelligent use of space. Artif Intell 73(1):31–68MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  24. Kirsh D (1999) Distributed cognition, coordination and environment design. In: Proceedings of the European conference on cognitive science, pp 1–10Google Scholar
  25. Kirsh D (2006) Distributed cognition: a methodological note. Pragmat Cogn 14(2):249–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Liu Z, Nersessian N, Stasko J (2008) Distributed cognition as a theoretical framework for information visualization. IEEE Trans Visual Comput Graph 14(6):1173–1180. doi: 10.1109/TVCG.2008.121 Google Scholar
  27. Nemeth C, Cook R (2004) Discovering and supporting temporal cognition in complex environments. In: Proceedings of the National Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  28. Norman D (1995) Things that make us smart. Addison Wesley, BostonGoogle Scholar
  29. Oatley K (2000) The sentiments and beliefs of distributed cognition. In: Frijda NH, Manstead ASR, Bem S (eds) Emotions and beliefs: How feelings influence thoughts, Cambridge University, Cambridge, pp 78–107Google Scholar
  30. Palen L (1998) Calendars on the new frontier: challenges of groupware technology. University of California, IrvineGoogle Scholar
  31. Palen L, Aaløkke S (2006) Of pill boxes and piano benches: “home-made” methods for managing medication. In: Proceedings of the 2006 20th anniversary conference on computer supported cooperative work. ACM, New York, NY, pp 79–88Google Scholar
  32. Rajkomar A, Blandford A (2012) Understanding infusion administration in the ICU through Distributed Cognition. J Biomed Inform 45(3):580–590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rogers Y (1993) Coordinating computer-mediated work. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), 1(4):295–315Google Scholar
  34. Simon H (1981) The sciences of the artificial, 2nd edn. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA Cited in Hutchins (1995)Google Scholar
  35. Webb P (2008) Extending a distributed cognition framework: the evolution and social organisation of line control. Unpublished Master’s Thesis, University College London, London, United KingdomGoogle Scholar
  36. Wright PC, Fields RE, Harrison MD (2000) Analyzing human-computer interaction as distributed cognition: the resources model. Hum-Comput Interact 15(1):1–41Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College London Interaction CentreUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of OncologyRoyal Free NHS TrustLondonUK

Personalised recommendations