Cognition, situatedness, and situated design

Christopher Lueg, Rolf Pfeifer

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In the rationalistic perspective, the human expert is seen as a data-processing system having properties similar to computers. As a consequence, the design of man-machine interfaces, workplaces, and organizational procedures has been mainly driven by technological advances, focusing on replacing humans rather than supporting their actual needs. A more appropriate explanation of human cognition is based on the notion of situatedness: human cognition is considered to be emergent from the interaction of the human with the environment, i.e., the current situation the human is involved in. More generally spoken, the system-environment coupling is a prerequisite of cognition and cannot be abstracted away. In this paper, we summarize the rationalistic perspective, its pitfalls, and its (undesirable) influences on design. As an alternative, we propose `Situated Design', a design methodology capitalizing on the notion of the human as a situated agent. We demonstrate how `Situated Design' can be applied to workplace design and computer system design, and we outline a situated perspective on man-machine interface design supporting humans in coping with the so-called `information overload' phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1997 2nd International Conference on Cognitive Technology - Aizu, Jpn
Duration: Aug 25 1997Aug 28 1997


OtherProceedings of the 1997 2nd International Conference on Cognitive Technology
CityAizu, Jpn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Psychology


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