Distributed cognition, representation, and affordance

Jiajie Zhang, Vimla L. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


This article describes a representation-based framework of distributed cognition. This framework considers distributed cognition as a cognitive system whose structures and processes are distributed between internal and external representations, across a group of individuals, and across space and time. The major issue for distributed research, under this framework, are the distribution, transformation, and propagation of information across the components of the distributed cognitive system and how they affect the performance of the system as a whole. To demonstrate the value of this representation-based approach, the framework was used to describe and explain an important, challenging, and controversial issue - the concept of affordance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-341
Number of pages9
JournalPragmatics and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Affordance
  • Distributed cognition
  • Internal and external representations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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