My background is cognitive science, and I currently investigate how interacting with external representations (particularly new computational media such as manipulable simulations) and artifacts change the human imagination system and motivation. In particular, I am interested in how this interaction process leads to:
- learning of new science and engineering concepts
- new discoveries and innovations
- wider socio-technical systems
Within cognitive science, this research area is a central component of Distributed Cognition theory, which argues that humans' cognitive advantage is driven by the brain's ability to generate and incorporate novel artifacts and representations. These artifacts and representations in turn lead to the creation of new socio-technical environments, where people interact with these structures to solve highly complex problems that cannot be solved by any single individual.
In my current work, science learning and discovery environments are developed and tested from the perspective of distributed cognition. This theoretical framework also helps understand the cognitive interactions in such environments.
This research program is highly interdisciplinary, and a central contribution of my work is the way it connects the Distributed Cognition framework with cognitive/neural mechanisms recently proposed by Embodied and Enactive Cognition theories.
At the domain level, this research approach brings together questions, concepts, and methods from Education, Philosophy of Science, Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience and Human-Computer Interaction Design.