[unrev-II] Masters Thesis on Cognitive Overhead

From: Rod Welch (rowelch@attglobal.net)
Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 17:07:22 PST

  • Next message: Rod Welch: "[unrev-II] 7 Wonders + 2 + 1 Add Up to a Culture of Knowledge"

    Dear Delguel,

    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
    in POIMS....


    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.



    Delguel wrote:
    > 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 ?
    > Sincerely,
    > Delguel Arcanjo
    > delguel@escola24horas.com.br

    ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
    Sponsored by VeriSign - The Value of Trust
    Do you need to encrypt all your online transactions? Find
    the perfect solution in this FREE Guide from VeriSign.

    Community email addresses:
      Post message: unrev-II@onelist.com
      Subscribe: unrev-II-subscribe@onelist.com
      Unsubscribe: unrev-II-unsubscribe@onelist.com
      List owner: unrev-II-owner@onelist.com

    Shortcut URL to this page:

    Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Wed Jan 23 2002 - 16:49:23 PST