Re: the role of externalization

Date: Sat Jun 05 2004 - 23:49:35 PDT

I've been looking at the coordination of gestures, drawing, pointing,
talk, and data entry in a design context (art and design for
web-based art objects), thinking a lot about the heterogeneity and
heterochronicity of new media, and seeing interesting ways that
artifacts on paper and screen are worked out by these various means
(in ways similar to what you're describing from Hutchins). Some nice
examples were presented in Cognition in the Wild, but if there are
more recent and detailed analyses he's published, I'd love to get the

>I would add, in addition to the regulation of self, also the regulation of
>others and context to the functions such gestures can serve, in particular
>when gesture is superimposed. or interaction with, various artifacts. I
>am thinking of the recent work by Ed Hutchins examining the role of
>various drawing, pointing and tracing gestures performed by navy bridge
>operators over a nautical chart. Such gestures construct "shared objects"
>used to control the operations and actions of spatially proximal agents
>(hunched over the chart); these gestures only make sense given the
>structure of the artifact itself and its local meaning given the activity
>engaged by the various actors looking at and interacting with the chart.
>> The idea that people are self-regulating their thoughts when they gesture
>> while they speak - especially obvious (now that this is pointed out) when
>> they are talking to themselves, when they are on the phone, etc. - is
>> still
>> another gem from the treasure chest of CHAT-related research and theory
>> for
>> me to marvel at and think about. A couple questions immediately come to
>> mind. Has there been any evidence that gesturing-as-self-regulation can
>> be
>> improved on as a skill, thereby enhancing one's cognitive awareness and
>> abilities? (Counting on one's fingers is one possible example; how
>> about sign language? etc.). And how about certain verbal habits, such as
>> saying "uh" or "um" while pausing -- might, and if so, how might these
> > kinds of utterances play a role in self-regulation?
> >
> > - Steve
> >
> >

Paul Prior
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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