Human Interactivity: Problem-Solving, Solution-Probing and Verbal Patterns in the Wild

Sune Vork Steffensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


    This chapter presents an interactivity-based approach to human problem-solving in the wild. It introduces the notion of ‘interactivity’ here defined as sense-saturated coordination that contributes to human action. On this view, interactivity is an ontological substrate that can be studied as interaction, as cognition, or as ecological niche production (section “Human Interactivity”). While the chapter theoretically argues in favour of a unified, anti-disciplinary approach to interactivity, it turns its attention to the cognitive ecology of human problem-solving. It does so by presenting a method of Cognitive Event Analysis (section “From Interactivity to Cognitive Events”), that leads to a detailed analysis of how a problem in the wild is being solved (section “The Invoice Case”). The analysis addresses the cognitive dynamics of how two persons in a work setting reach an insight into the nature of a problem, including the spatial organisation of the workplace, the interbodily dynamics between the two participants (especially in relation to gaze and the manual handling of papers), and verbal patterns that prompts them to simulate how the problem appears to a third party. The chapter concludes that human problem-solving is far less linear and planned than assumed in much work on the topic. Rather than problem-solving, it appears as solution-probing in real-time. The cognitive trajectory to a viable solution is thus self-organised, unplanned, and on the edge of chaos.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCognition beyond the Brain : Computation, Interactivity and Human Artifice
    EditorsStephen J. Cowley, Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau
    Publication date2017
    ISBN (Print)9783319491141
    ISBN (Electronic)9783319491158
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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