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Cognitive Space

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We need to create some cognitive space for thinking and innovation.



Cognitive space is the set of concepts and relations among them held by a human.

Cognitive space is one part of human cognition, and (as described later in this section) particularly accessible to external measurement. Cognitive space does not define thought processes, methods for interaction with external stimuli, memory or other human cognitive processes of potential interest.


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Cognitive space

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Cognitive space uses the analogy of location in two, three or higher dimensional space to describe and categorize the thoughts, memories and ideas. Each individual has his/her cognitive space, resulting in a unique categorization of their ideas. The dimensions of this cognitive space depend on information, training and finally on a person's awareness. All this depends globally from the cultural setting.

The relationship between cognitive space and language has been investigated by Izchak Schlesinger (ISBN 9780521434362). He argues that case categories are in fact composed of more primitive cognitive notions.

Gregory Newby, argues that memory for information systems will have to share the same geometry as the users cognitive space, especially if exosomatic memory systems are to be realized.

D. Meadows, E. Edwards, Heiner Benking and others have attempted to map in two or three dimensions various cognitive spaces. They try to place human perspectives within the global ecosystem.

Peter Peverelli introduced the term cognitive space in his monograph of the same title. Peverelli's organization theory draws heavily on the Theory of Social Integration as stated by H.J. van Dongen and on Weick's theory of reducing equivocality in processes of social interaction. As such it is an elaboration on these theories by adding the notion of cognitive space, which is borrowed from Gilles Fauconnier's model of Mental Space, and by elaborating on concepts like social-cognitive configuration and multiple inclusion. A cognitive space consists of two elements: the social element, the actors involved and the cognitive element, their share cognitive matter (shared views, symbols, common language use, common ways-to-do-things, etc.). Actors are included in numerous spaces simultaneously and during social interaction in one space, they can access cognitive matter from other inclusions. This enriches the cognitive element of a space and can even give birth to new cognitive spaces.



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  • Peverelli, P.J. (2000), [Cognitive Space - A social cognitive approach to Sino-Western cooperation][1], Delft: Eburon
  • Peverelli, P, 2004, Creating Corporate Space - In Search of Chinese Corporate Identity, Research Memorandum 2004-20, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
  • Peverelli, P, 2004, Crying over Spilt Milk - a cause map analysis of the milk dumping incident in the Shijiazhuang region, Workshop proceedings Modern Dairy Production and Research with experiences from Sino-Dutch Collaboration, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, China.
  • Peverelli, P.J. (2005) Chinese Corporate Identity, London: Routledge.
  • Peverelli, P.J. (2006) Negotiating Space, in: L. Douw & K.B. Chan ed., Conflict and Change: An Emergent Transnational Management Culture in China, Leiden: Brill (forthcoming).

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See also

Problem space





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