Framing and Resource Activation: Bridging the Cognitive-Situative Divide Using a Dynamic Unit of Cognitive Analysis


Theory in cognitive science often splits into those who treat cognition as occurring in individual minds those who treat it as situated or distributed, as irreducibly a matter of an individual-in-a-setting or of multiple individuals and artifacts. Prominent accounts have treated this split as between incommensurable paradigms (Sfard, 1998), competing theories (Greeno, 1997), and as complementary perspectives (Cobb, 1994). In the present paper, however, we argue that the accounts can be seen as theoretically continuous, differing in the scale of dynamics, such that a "society of mind" (Minsky, 1988) model of individual cognition is theoretically continuous with a "mind of society" model of social cognition. We sketch our framework and show how it leads to this continuity. We also argue that the relevant scale in any instance should be guided by the evidence, rather than based on purely a priori commitments.

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