Distributed cognition is a theory of psychology developed in the mid 1980s by Edwin Hutchins. Psychology (from Greek grc ψῡχή psȳkhē, "breath life soul" and grc -λογία -logia) is an Academic and Edwin Hutchins is a professor and former department head of Cognitive science at the University of California San Diego. Using insights from sociology, cognitive science, and the psychology of Vygotsky (cf activity theory) it emphasizes the social aspects of cognition. Sociology (from Latin: socius "companion" and the suffix -ology "the study of" from Greek λόγος lógos "knowledge" Cognitive science may be broadly defined as the multidisciplinary study of mind and behavior Lev Semenovich Vygotsky (Russian Лев Семёнович Выготский ( November 17 ( November 5 Old Style) 1896 – June 11, 1934 See also Social Constructivism (Learning Theory and Critical psychology. It is a framework (not a method) that involves the co-ordination between individuals and artifacts. It has two key components:
Distributed cognition is a branch of cognitive science that proposes that human knowledge and cognition are not confined to the individual. Instead, it is distributed by placing memories, facts, or knowledge on the objects, individuals, and tools in our environment. Distributed cognition is a useful approach for (re)designing social aspects of cognition by putting emphasis on the individual and his/her environment. Distributed cognition views a system as a set of representations, and models the interchange of information between these representations. These representations can be either in the mental space of the participants or external representations available in the environment.
This abstraction can be categorized into three distinct types of processes.
J. Roberts (1964) thought that social organization could be seen as cognition through a community. John M Roberts ( December 8, 1916 – April 2, 1990) was an American anthropologist Social organization or social institution, refers to a group of Social positions connected by Social relations performing a Social role. In biological terms a community is a group of interacting Organisms sharing an environment. He described the cognitive aspects of a society by looking at the present information and how it moves through the people in the society.
Daniel L. Schwartz (1978) proposed a distribution of cognition through culture and the distribution of beliefs across the members of a society.
In 1993, Gavriel Salomon stated that there were two classes of distributive cognition: shared cognition and off-loading. Gavriel Salomon (b 1938 is an Israeli educational psychologist who has conducted research on Cognition and instruction in particular the cognitive effects Shared cognition is that which is shared among people through common activity such as conversation where there is a constant change of cognition based on the other person's responses. An example of off-loading would be using a calculator to do arithmetic or a creating a grocery list when going shopping. In that sense, the cognitive duties are off-loaded to a material object.
Distributed cognition as a theory of learning, i. e. one in which the development of knowledge is attributed to the system of human agents interacting dynamically with artifacts, has been widely applied in the field of distance learning, especially in relation to Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) and other computer-supported learning tools. Distance education, or distance learning, is a field of education that focuses on the Pedagogy and Andragogy, technology and instructional systems design Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL is a research topic on supporting Collaborative learning with the help of computers Distributed cognition illustrates the process of interaction between people and technologies in order to determine how to best represent, store and provide access to digital resources and other artifacts.
The Turing Test may be used as an auditionary test for determining distributed cognition. The Turing test is a proposal for a test of a Machine 's ability to demonstrate intelligence "The candidate must be able to exhibit the performance capacities of a normal human being, indistinguishably from a human being, to a human being. " 
Collaborative Tagging on the world wide web is one of the most recent developments in technological support for distributed cognition. Beginning in 2004 and quickly becoming a standard on websites, collaborative tagging allows users to upload or select materials (e. g. pictures, music files, texts, websites) and associate tags with these materials. Tags can be chosen freely, and are similar to keywords. Other users can then browse through tags; a click on a tag connects a user to similarly tagged materials. Tags furthermore enable tag clouds, which graphically represent the popularity of tags, demonstrating co-occurrence relations between tags and thus jump from one tag to another. A tag cloud or word cloud (or weighted list in visual design is a visual depiction of user-generated tags, or simply the word content of a site used typically
Distributed cognition can also be seen through cultures and communities. Learning certain habits or following certain traditions is seen as cognition distributed over a group of people. Exploring distributed cognition through community and culture is one way to understand how it may work.
With the new research that is emerging in this field, the overarching concept of distributed cognition enhances the understanding of interactions between humans, machines and environments.
Educational Psychology “People think in conjunction and partnership with others and with the help of culturally provided tools and implements” (Salomon, 1993, p. Educational psychology is the study of how Humans learn in Educational settings the effectiveness of educational interventions the psychology of teaching and the xiii).
Cognitive Science “The emphasis on finding and describing ‘knowledge structures’ that are somewhere ‘inside’ the individual encourages us to overlook the fact that human cognition is always situated in a complex sociocultural world and cannot be unaffected by it” (Hutchins, 1995, p. Cognitive science may be broadly defined as the multidisciplinary study of mind and behavior xiii).
Distributed cognition is seen when using paper and pencil to do a complicated arithmetic problem. The person doing the problem may talk with a friend to clarify the problem, and then must write the partial answers on the paper in order to be able to keep track of all the steps in the calculation. In this example, the parts of distributed cognition are seen in:
The process of working out the answer requires not only the perception and thought of two people, it also requires the use of a tool (paper) to extend an individual's memory. So the intelligence is distributed, both between people, and a person and an object.
Another metaphor for distributed cognition would be a plane and the crew on it. It is not the cognitive performance and expertise of any one single person or machine that is important for our well being. It is the cognition that is distributed over the personnel, sensors, and machinery both in the plane and on the ground, including but not limited to the pilots and crew as a whole.