Publication statistics

Pub. period:1994-2005
Pub. count:13
Number of co-authors:8


Number of publications with 3 favourite co-authors:

Hendrik Knoche:
Hermann de Meer:
Paul P. Maglio:



Productive colleagues

David Kirsh's 3 most productive colleagues in number of publications:

James D. Hollan:48
Paul P. Maglio:25
Edwin Hutchins:12

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David Kirsh

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Has also published under the name of:
"David Kirsch"

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Current place of employment:
University of California, San Diego

David Kirsh is a Canadian cognitive scientist, and Professor at University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where he heads the Interactive Cognition Lab. He received his BA from the University of Toronto in 1976 and his D.Phil. from Oxford University[2] in 1983 with the thesis Representation and rationality : foundations of cognitive science. Prior to arriving at UCSD, he spent five years as a research scientist at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory from 1984 to 1989. Since 1989 he is Professor at Deptarment of Cognitive Science at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Since 1989 he is director of the Interactive Cognition Lab as well. His research interests include interactive design, collaborative environments, cognitive aspects of multimedia design, information architecture, attention management and human-computer interaction.


Publications by David Kirsh (bibliography)

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Knoche, Hendrik, Meer, Hermann de and Kirsh, David (2005): Compensating for low frame rates. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2005 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2005. pp. 1553-1556.

Experiments were conducted to investigate the interdependency of frame rates (30, 15, 10 fps) and audio-visual skew (from +163 to -233 ms). Noised nonsense words like 'abagava' were presented to 20 participants who were asked to identify the middle consonant. At low frame rates (10 fps) consonant perception was impaired when audio ran ahead of video content (skew of -113 to -233ms). When audio lagged video, performance improved monotonically to a maximum at +167ms, where performance equaled 30fps in synch. The results suggest that frame rate and skew are not orthogonal parameters but must both be taken into consideration for AV-delivery. The findings do not support the current notion that 10 fps videos do not adequately capture visual content for speech perception. Participants were able to integrate the given bi-modal information as well as the 30 fps condition if the audio channel was subjected to an additional 167ms delay.

© All rights reserved Knoche et al. and/or ACM Press

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Kirsh, David (2005): Metacognition, Distributed Cognition and Visual Design. In: Gardenfors, Peter and Johansson, Petter (eds.). "Cognition, education, and communication technology". Mahwah, N.J., USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associatespp. 147-180

Abstract: Metacognition is associated with planning, monitoring, evaluating and repairing performance Designers of elearning systems can improve the quality of their environments by explicitly structuring the visual and interactive display of learning contexts to facilitate metacognition. Typically page layout, navigational appearance, visual and interactivity design are not viewed as major factors in metacognition. This is because metacognition tends to be interpreted as a process in the head, rather than an interactive one. It is argued here, that cognition and metacognition are part of a continuum and that both are highly interactive. The tenets of this view are explained by reviewing some of the core assumptions of the situated and distribute approach to cognition and then further elaborated by exploring the notions of active vision, visual complexity, affordance landscape and cue structure. The way visual cues are structured and the way interaction is designed can make an important difference in the ease and effectiveness of cognition and metacognition. Documents that make effective use of markers such as headings, callouts, italics can improve students' ability to comprehend documents and 'plan' the way they review and process content. Interaction can be designed to improve 'the proximal zone of planning' - the look ahead and apprehension of what is nearby in activity space that facilitates decisions. This final concept is elaborated in a discussion of how e-newspapers combine effective visual and interactive design to enhance user control over their reading experience.

© All rights reserved Kirsh and/or Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

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Kirsh, David (2005): Multi-tasking and Cost Structure: Implications for Design. In: Proceedings of Twenty-seventh Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society 2005. .

I argue that it is not possible to accurately represent our task settings as closed environments with a single well defined cost structure. Natural environments are places where many things are done, often at the same time, and often by many people. To appreciate the way such invariants of everyday life affect design I present a case study, a micro-analysis of espresso making at Starbucks to show the challenges facing a cost structure approach.

© All rights reserved Kirsh and/or L. Erlbaum Associates

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Kirsh, David (2001): The Context of Work. In Human-Computer Interaction, 16 (2) pp. 306-322.

The question of how to conceive and represent the context of work is explored from the theoretical perspective of distributed cognition. It is argued that to understand the office work context we need to go beyond tracking superficial physical attributes such as who or what is where and when and consider the state of digital resources, people's concepts, task state, social relations, and the local work culture, to name a few. In analyzing an office more deeply, three concepts are especially helpful: entry points, action landscapes, and coordinating mechanisms. An entry point is a structure or cue that represents an invitation to enter an information space or office task. An activity landscape is part mental construct and part physical; it is the space users interactively construct out of the resources they find when trying to accomplish a task. A coordinating mechanism is an artifact, such as a schedule or clock, or an environmental structure such as the layout of papers to be signed, which helps a user manage the complexity of his task. Using these three concepts we can abstract away from many of the surface attributes of work context and define the deep structure of a setting-the invariant structure that many office settings share. A long-term challenge for context-aware computing is to operationalize these analytic concepts.

© All rights reserved Kirsh and/or Taylor and Francis

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Kirsh, David (2001): Changing the Rules: Architecture in the new Millennium. In Convergence, 7 (2) pp. 113-125.

Walls, work surfaces and furniture can now all be digitally enhanced. The position presented is that these emerging technologies are radically changing the design constraints of architecture. The article has four parts. First, the cognitive conception of an activity space is critically evaluated to show that the idea of an activity space must be broadened to accommodate actions that are not normally viewed as task relevant. Second, the different properties of physical and digital objects are explained and morals drawn about the way digital objects can be used to enhance physical environments. Three specific examples of digital enhancement are then discussed: telepresence, 3 dimensional intranets, and intelligent furniture. In the fourth section the architectural significance of these types of digital enhancements is shown by discussing how Christopher Alexander's nine tenets of workspace design must be reconceptualized. The conclusion drawn is that the customary rules of architectural composition are changing.

© All rights reserved Kirsh and/or his/her publisher

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Elvins, T. Todd, Nadeau, David R., Schul, Rina and Kirsh, David (2001): Worldlets: 3D Thumbnails for Wayfinding in Large Virtual Worlds. In Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 10 (6) pp. 565-582.

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Hollan, James D., Hutchins, Edwin and Kirsh, David (2000): Distributed Cognition: Toward a New Foundation for Human-Computer Interaction Research. In ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 7 (2) pp. 174-196.

We are quickly passing through the historical moment when people work in front of a single computer, dominated by a small CRT and focused on tasks involving only local information. Networked computers are becoming ubiquitous and are playing increasingly significant roles in our lives and in the basic infrastructures of science, business, and social interaction. For human-computer interaction to advance in the new millennium we need to better understand the emerging dynamic of interaction in which the focus task is no longer confined to the desktop but reaches into a complex networked world of information and computer-mediated interactions. We think the theory of distributed cognition has a special role to play in understanding interactions between people and technologies, for its focus has always been on whole environments: what we really do in them and how we coordinate our activity in them. Distributed cognition provides a radical reorientation of how to think about designing and supporting human-computer interaction. As a theory it is specifically tailored to understanding interactions among people and technologies. In this article we propose distributed cognition as a new foundation for human-computer interaction, sketch an integrated research framework, and use selections from our earlier work to suggest how this framework can provide new opportunities in the design of digital work materials.

© All rights reserved Hollan et al. and/or ACM Press

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Kirsh, David (2000): A Few Thoughts on Cognitive Overload. In Intellectica, pp. 19-51.

This article addresses three main questions: What causes cognitive overload in the workplace? What analytical framework should be used to understand how agents interact with their work environments? How can environments be restructured to improve the cognitive workflow of agents? Four primary causes of overload are identified: too much information supply, too much information demand, constant multitasking and interruptions, and inadequate workplace infrastructure to help reduce the need for planning, monitoring, reminding, reclassifying information, etc... The first step in reducing the cognitive impact of these causes is to enrich classical frameworks for understanding work environments, such as Newell and Simon's notion of a task environment, by recognizing that our actual workplace is a superposition of many specific environments - activity spaces - which we slip between. Each has its own cost structure arising from the tools and resources available, including the cognitive strategies and interpretational frameworks of individual agents. These cognitive factors are significant, affecting how easy of difficult it is to perform an action, such as finding a specific paper in a 'messy' desk. A few simple examples show how work environments can be redesigned and how restructuring can alter the cost structure of activity spaces.

© All rights reserved Kirsh and/or his/her publisher

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Elvins, T. Todd, Nadeau, David R., Schul, Rina and Kirsh, David (1998): Worldlets: 3D Thumbnails for 3D Browsing. In: Karat, Clare-Marie, Lund, Arnold, Coutaz, Jolle and Karat, John (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 98 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference April 18-23, 1998, Los Angeles, California. pp. 163-170.

Dramatic advances in 3D Web technologies have recently led to widespread development of virtual world Web browsers and 3D content. A natural question is whether 3D thumbnails can be used to find one's way about such 3D content the way that text and 2D thumbnail images are used to navigate 2D Web content. We have conducted an empirical experiment that shows interactive 3D thumbnails, which we call worldlets, improve travelers' landmark knowledge and expedite wayfinding in virtual environments.

© All rights reserved Elvins et al. and/or ACM Press

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Elvins, T. Todd, Nadeau, David R. and Kirsh, David (1997): Worldlets -- 3D Thumbnails for Wayfinding in Virtual Environments. In: Robertson, George G. and Schmandt, Chris (eds.) Proceedings of the 10th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology October 14 - 17, 1997, Banff, Alberta, Canada. pp. 21-30.

Virtual environment landmarks are essential in wayfinding: they anchor routes through a region and provide memorable destinations to return to later. Current virtual environment browsers provide user interface menus that characterize available travel destinations via landmark textual descriptions or thumbnail images. Such characterizations lack the depth cues and context needed to reliably recognize 3D landmarks. This paper introduces a new user interface affordance that captures a 3D representation of a virtual environment landmark into a 3D thumbnail, called a worldlet. Each worldlet is a miniature virtual world fragment that may be interactively viewed in 3D, enabling a traveler to gain first-person experience with a travel destination. In a pilot study conducted to compare textual, image, and worldlet landmark representations within a wayfinding task, worldlet use significantly reduced the overall travel time and distance traversed, virtually eliminating unnecessary backtracking.

© All rights reserved Elvins et al. and/or ACM Press

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Kirsh, David (1995): The intelligent use of space. In Artificial Intelligence, 73 pp. 31-68.

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Kirsh, David (1995): The Intelligent Use of Space. In Artificial Intelligence, 73 (1) pp. 31-68.

The objective of this essay is to provide the beginning of a principled classification of some of the ways space is intelligently used. Studies of planning have typically focused on the temporal ordering of action, leaving as unaddressed questions of where to lay down instruments, ingredients, work-in-progress, and the like. But, in having a body, we are spatially located creatures: we must always be facing some direction, have only certain objects in view, be within reach of certain others. How we manage the spatial arrangement of items around us is not an afterthought: it is an integral part of the way we think, plan, and behave. The proposed classification has three main categories: spatial arrangements that simplify choice; spatial arrangements that simplify perception; and spatial dynamics that simplify internal computation. The data for such a classification is drawn from videos of cooking, assembly and packing, everyday observations in supermarkets, workshops and playrooms, and experimental studies of subjects playing Tetris, the computer game. This study, therefore, focuses on interactive processes in the medium and short term: on how agents set up their workplace for particular tasks, and how they continuously manage that workplace.

© All rights reserved Kirsh and/or Elsevier Science

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Kirsh, David and Maglio, Paul P. (1994): On Distinguishing Epistemic from Pragmatic Action. In Cognitive Science, 18 (4) pp. 513-549.

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