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  • Author: Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau x
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Lisa G. Guthrie and Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau

Abstract

Interactivity has been linked to better performance in problem solving, due in part to a more efficient allocation of attentional resources, a better distribution of cognitive load, but perhaps more important by enabling the reasoner to shape and reshape the physical problem presentation to promote the development of the problem solution. Interactivity in solving quotidian arithmetic problems involves gestures, pointing, and the recruitment of artefacts to facilitate computation and augment efficiency. In the experiment reported here, different types of interactivity were examined with a series of mental arithmetic problems. Using a repeated-measures design, participants solved series of five 11-digit sums in four conditions that varied in the type of interactivity: (i) no interactivity (participants solved the problems with their hands on the table top), (ii) pointing (participants could point at the numbers), (iii) pen and paper (participants could note interim totals with a pen), and (iv) tokens (the sums were presented as 11 numbered tokens the arrangement of which participants were free to modify as they proceeded to the solution). Performance in the four conditions was measured in terms of accuracy, calculation error, and efficiency (a ratio composed of the proportion correct over the proportion of time invested in working on the sums). These quantitative analyses were supplemented by a detailed qualitative examination of a participant’s actions in the different conditions. The integration of artefacts, such as tokens or a pen, offered reasoners the opportunity to reconfigure the physical presentation of the problem, enacting different arithmetic strategies: the affordance landscape shifts as the problem trajectory is enacted through interactivity, and this generally produced better “mental” arithmetic performance. Participants also felt more positive about and better engaged with the task when they could reconfigure the problem presentation through interactivity. These findings underscore the importance of engineering task environments in the laboratory that offer a window on how problem solving unfolds through a coalition of mental and physical resources.

Open access

Wendy Ross and Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau

Abstract

Folk and scholarly conjectures on the nature of creative genius often focus on intrapsychic processes: The explanations centre on the person, the creator, transcending the more prosaic forces that shape everyday, routine cognition. Focusing on the alleged extraordinary character of a creator deflects attention from the emergent, distributed and relational nature of creativity. A more productive research agenda considers a range of factors, operating at different time scales, that guide and constrain the manufacture of creativity. We argue that a transactional perspective is particularly fruitful for the analysis of the dramatic work of William Shakespeare. Drama is an inherently relational art form created by the writer, the director, actors and audience. Further, Shakespeare’s output is a palimpsest of classical texts and writers contemporary to him, and was shaped by practical constraints. Viewing his work as situated in a historical time period and in a dialogue with other voices gives us a fuller account of the ontological locus of his creativity.

Open access

Nicholas J. Shipp, Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau and Susan H. Anthony

Abstract

The behavioural evidence of sensorimotor activity during conceptual processing, along with that from neurological research, ignited the debate around the extent to which concept representations are embodied or amodal. Such evidence continues to fuel the debate but it is open to interpretation as being consistent with a variety of the theoretical positions and so it is possible that further, similar evidence may not lead to its resolution. In this paper we propose that independent value accrues from following this line of research through the enhanced understanding of the factors that influence agents’ conceptual processing of action and how this interacts with the agent’s goals in real environments. This approach is in line with broad principles of embodied cognition and is worthy of pursuit regardless of what the results may (or may not) tell us about conceptual representation.

Open access

Joanna Rączaszek-Leonardi and Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau