The cognitive integration of scientific instruments

information, situated cognition, and scientific practice

Richard Heersmink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Researchers in the biological and biomedical sciences, particularly those working in laboratories, use a variety of artifacts to help them perform their cognitive tasks. This paper analyses the relationship between researchers and cognitive artifacts in terms of integration. It first distinguishes different categories of cognitive artifacts used in biological practice on the basis of their informational properties. This results in a novel classification of scientific instruments, conducive to an analysis of the cognitive interactions between researchers and artifacts. It then uses a multidimensional framework in line with complementarity-based extended and distributed cognition theory to conceptualize how deeply instruments in different informational categories are integrated into the cognitive systems of their users. The paper concludes that the degree of integration depends on various factors, including the amount of informational malleability, the intensity and kind of information flow between agent and artifact, the trustworthiness of the information, the procedural and informational transparency, and the degree of individualisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-537
Number of pages21
JournalPhenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

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