Inria / Raweb 2004
Project-Team: Eiffel

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Project-Team : eiffel

Section: Scientific Foundations

Keywords: cognitive ergonomics, cognitive psychology.

Scientific foundations

In engineering, the aim of design is to produce specifications for the technical solution that is to be implemented. Cognitive ergonomics does not identify design in relation to a social function or status, but qualifies certain situations, in which a set of formal characteristics can be identified, as ``design tasks''. From the Cognitive Psychology standpoint, design problems may be considered as ``ill-defined'' problems [55].

The specificities of design tasks are as follows:

Design is usually a group activity, involving and requiring a combination of skills and professions. From a socio-organizational perspective, design is a matter of communicating and integrating the various specialist skills that are involved, primarity due to the difficulty of dealing with the many diverse aspects of a complex artefact, as well as all the relationships that exist between these aspects.

The research carried out within this team focuses on Cognitive Ergonomics and Cognitive Psychology. The main concern of Ergonomics is to accumulate and apply knowledge that is likely to improve efficiency and interest in the work activity, in this case cognitive work, as opposed to purely physiological aspects, which are naturally also important. The traditional role of Ergonomics applied to human-computer systems, primarily focuses on the interaction between humans and their cognitive work environment (including colleagues, technical devices, their work space). Cognitive Psychology is of major importance in Cognitive Ergonomics [58], at both a theoretical and a methodological level. In a broader context, Cognitive Ergonomics and Cognitive Psychology belong to the still expanding field of Cognitive Sciences and therefore benefit from the many interactions with the other disciplines that constitute this domain, primarily Computer Science (particularly Artificial Intelligence), Psycholinguistics and Linguistics. Our theoretical framework refers to cognition within situations, collective cognition and developmental cognition: humans act and learn through interaction with other agents (human or not), in objective-oriented activities and in context [57].

Our methodological approach is to conduct empirical studies, either field studies or laboratory experiments: