Studying Humans in their Natural Settings

We know more about how baboons forage and play than about how humans behave inthe privacy of their offices. In the Interactive Cognition Lab we are studying human behavior in natural settings such as offices, computer games, and classrooms in order to deepen our understanding of the principles underlying everyday activity.

"How do office dwellers work in their everyday environment?"

Designers are eager to create new digital supports for offices, kitchens and classrooms, but before such tools can be invented it is important to learn how people

How do office dwellers work in their everyday environment?

actually work and manage their tasks. The product that has been emerging is a better theoretical grasp of the dynamics of activity, one that is based on a richer ontology of resources and the activity space in which people operate. This work is helping to set the stage for Context Aware Environments in which networked sensors and processors continuously model the state of an environment, and work with new digital artifacts to help offices and other environments adapt to the changing needs of their inhabitants.