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http://ssrn.com/abstract=2207152
 
 

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Cognitive Tools Shape Thought: Diagrams in Design


Jeffrey V. Nickerson


Stevens Institute of Technology - Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management

James E. Corter


Columbia University - Teachers' College

Barbara Tversky


Columbia University - Teachers' College

Yun-Jin Rho


Pearson Education

Doris Zahner


Council for Aid to Education (CAE)

Lixiu Lisa Yu


Carnegie Mellon University

January 25, 2013

Cognitive Processing, Volume 14, Issue 3 (2013), pp. 255-272
Howe School Research Paper No. 2013–7

Abstract:     
Thinking often entails interacting with cognitive tools. In many cases, notably design, the predominant tool is the page. The page allows externalizing, organizing, and reorganizing thought. Yet, the page has its own properties that by expressing thought affect it: path, proximity, place, permanence. The effects of these properties were evident in designs of information systems created by students Paths were interpreted as routes through components. Proximity was used to group subsystems. Horizontal position on the page was used to express temporal sequence and vertical position to reflect real-world spatial position. The permanence of designs on the page guided but also constrained generation of alternative designs. Cognitive tools both reflect and affect thought.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 50

Keywords: Diagrammatic reasoning, design, creativity, cognitive tool, affordance, spatial thinking, information systems design

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Date posted: January 27, 2013 ; Last revised: July 13, 2013

Suggested Citation

Nickerson, Jeffrey V. and Corter, James E. and Tversky, Barbara and Rho, Yun-Jin and Zahner, Doris and Yu, Lixiu Lisa, Cognitive Tools Shape Thought: Diagrams in Design (January 25, 2013). Cognitive Processing, Volume 14, Issue 3 (2013), pp. 255-272; Howe School Research Paper No. 2013–7. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2207152

Contact Information

Jeffrey V. Nickerson (Contact Author)
Stevens Institute of Technology - Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management ( email )
Hoboken, NJ 07030
United States

James E. Corter
Columbia University - Teachers' College ( email )
525 W. 120th St.
New York, NY 10027
United States
Barbara Tversky
Columbia University - Teachers' College ( email )
525 W. 120th St.
New York, NY 10027
United States
Yun-Jin Rho
Pearson Education ( email )
United States
Doris Zahner
Council for Aid to Education (CAE) ( email )
New York, NY
United States
Lixiu Yu
Carnegie Mellon University ( email )
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
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