Interspecies Distributed Cognition

AbstractStudies in distributed cognition (d-cog) almost exclusively focus on human-centered technological systems, such as ships, aircraft, automobiles, scientific and medical institutions, human-computer interfaces, and transactive memory systems. First, we review the literature and claim that d-cog is species-neutral. We then propose three experimentally operationalizable, necessary, and jointly-sufficient criteria for identifying d-cog: task orientation, interaction dominance, and agency. Here we build on previous research on nonhuman intraspecies d-cog by presenting human-dog systems as cases of interspecies d-cog. Domestic dogs’ (Canis familiaris) unique working relationships with humans allow for interspecies coordination and synchronization. Contrasting them with wolves (Canis lupus) and dingoes (Canis dingo), we suggest evolutionary history plays an important role in determining whether different species can form interspecies d-cog systems.

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