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An Extended, Dynamic Account of Collaborative Remembering and Information Search

  • Author(s): Szary, Janelle
  • Advisor(s): Dale, Rick
  • Kello, Christopher T
  • et al.
Abstract

Our memories are collections of the information we have experienced and learned over the course of our lives. While the nature of memory has been studied extensively in the history of the cognitive and psychological sciences, relatively little is known about how we sift through that information space to bring up any given thought at a given moment. According to the extended, dynamical systems framework, the mind is interwoven inextricably into its environment, and so the process of memory retrieval must be considered from a contextually-situated perspective. The goal of the current project is to highlight the importance of a key component of any memory system’s context: the social interactive context. Using both empirical and computational methodologies, the interdisciplinary studies described herein compare the processes employed by individuals and collaborating dyads while searching through information space. Inspiration is drawn from the domains of ecological foraging and particle diffusion in statistical physics to explain foraging dynamics, and from complex systems science to explore collaboration dynamics.

Ultimately, the project argues that not only is the social collaborative context an important modulator of memory processes at an individual level, but that in some cases people might be able to coordinate their memory processes, coming together to act as one. Through technological advancements, we are increasingly able to communicate and work collaboratively on all sorts of projects. Thus, a call is made for ongoing research to consider the conditions in which we can optimize information retrieval in these collaborative scenarios.

This dissertation, An Extended, Dynamic Account of Collaborative Remembering and Information Search, is submitted by Janelle Szary in 2015 in partial fulfillment of the degree Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive and Information Sciences at the University of California, Merced, under the guidance of dissertation committee co-chairs Rick Dale and Christopher T. Kello.

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