I appreciate your initiative reaching out to industry in researching your thesis
on "cognitive overhead" for a masters degree. My work implements ideas from
experts like professor Conklin, e.g., on 010622....
...and more recently on 011219 at Stanford University meeting with professor
Terry Winograd, who has written and taught for many years in the field of AI
that applies cognitive science in formulating technology....
I recommend that you rely on the work of experts like Professor Conklin, whom
you have already contacted, and that Professor Winograd.
Another good source is Doug Engelbart who has worked for many years on creating
useful technology. Doug invented the computer mouse while at SRI in the 1960s
and was a pioneer in starting the Internet. He has written widely on using
technology for augmenting intelligence. Doug received the National Medal of
Technology in the year 2000 for his lifetime accomplishments that advance core
technologies, as reported on 001114....
Your thesis on "cognitive overhead" has a number of potential meanings which are
slightly different depending on the particular discipline you are pursuing in
your studies, i.e., for cognitive science in psychology, or for management
science, and/or for computer science.
"Cognitive overhead" may relate to what is popularly called analysis and/or
intelligence, which can be thought of as an extension of traditional literacy,
which can be strengthened by integrating time and information. In management
science, "overhead" is generally considered research, planning and authority
that guides deployment of direct labor for efficient production, see for example
Drucker's work reviewed on 931130....
An example from technology is a software engineer who programs a computer; in
construction an architect designs piping, and a plumber installs the piping. In
all cases, people who perform direct labor are managed by a team leader, a
foreman, project manager, VP and CEO, who do not do any programming, nor design
and install piping, i.e., they are "overhead."
Similarly, in human cognition, thinking, analysis and intelligence that convert
information into knowledge mostly occur on automatic pilot in the background of
the subconscious mind, i.e., it is "cognitive overhead," since it seems free and
doesn't seem to be allocated to anything in particular, whereas, the conscious
span of attention that receives sensory perception seems to be doing the actual
work of deciding moment to moment what to say and do in performing tasks, and so
when focused on one task, it has limited capacity to focus on others.
Since "intelligence" seems free, nobody wants to pay for investing time to aid
cognitive overhead that strengthens intelligence.
If all of the mind's attention is devoted to receiving and sending information,
then there is not enough time for cognitive overhead to make the connections of
cause and effect that enable accurate understanding, and so "information
overload" results when intelligence fails to keep up with the pace of daily
activity. People get mixed up, leading to continual bumbling and rework.
This creates demand for technology that aids cognitive overhead by making it
faster and easier to convert information into "knowledge," as further explained
You may recall a year or so ago an oil rig collapsed off the coast of Brazil.
Most likely this was caused by a little deviation that compounded over time
because not enough cognitive overhead was used, as occurred on the Columbia
Space Shuttle in 1986....
In this context "cognitive overhead" might be said to fit within a theory of
knowledge based on an architecture of human cognition, or thought, also,
intelligence, as set out in POIMS....
I further commend the work of professor George Miller. His paper on limitations
of cognition and mental "recoding," also, called paraphrasing, that causes
meaning drift, was reviewed on 990303....
Professor Thomas K. Landauer's work with LSA explains how meaning drift may
occur in the human mind, and so may relate to your topic of "cognitive
overhead," depending on the direction of your paper....
More recently Steven Pinker at MIT has observed that meaning drift is a
"feature" not a bug" of human cognition....
....which implies that when people do not have enough time, or are otherwise
unwilling to invest time for, what might loosely be called, "cognitive
overhead," to maintain alignment, the human mind innately relies on
understanding the gist of things by filling in the gaps with common sense
impressions that are often incorrect, leading to loss, conflict, crisis and
calamity. More cognitive overhead is then needed to "debug" working cognition
the way an engineer debugs a software program.
Good luck with your paper.
> Dear Rod Welch,
> I am a master student at the Universidade Católica de
> Petrópolis, in Brazil, developing my dissertation on
> the concept of COGNITIVE OVERHEAD.I sent e-mail for
> Dr. Jeff Coklin speaking my dificult in explain the
> theme: COGNITIVE OVERHEAD and wait favourable reply.
> I would like to know if you can help me too about this.
> Would can ?
> Delguel Arcanjo
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