Spatial cognition based design of embodied interfaces for supporting spatial cognition

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Clifton, Paul Gordon
Mazalek, Ali
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In this dissertation, I apply research from cognitive science that describes the roles that people’s bodies play in their perceptions and mental representations of spaces to the design of tangible and embodied interactive systems as way to further the discussion about the role of space in the design and criticism of digital media artifacts. I begin by introducing the concept of space as it relates to digital media and provide the background from embodied cognition and tangible and embodied interaction (TEI) needed to develop my arguments. I then critique several important TEI systems from a spatial cognition perspective. I define a design space, which link scales of spatial cognition with scales of embodied interactions, by drawing out the relationships between the specifics of embodied interactions and the ways that TEIs leverage the relationships between bodies and spaces,. I then provide a set of design guidelines that highlight design considerations for TEIs that support, augment, or alter aspects of spatial cognition. These guidelines focus on ways that interventions link the ways that TEIs establish embodiment with the aspects of spatial cognition that they engage. Finally, I present two case studies, emBodied Digital Creativity and Tangibles for Augmenting Spatial Cognition, which illustrate the application of my guidelines to the development of interfaces that alter mental rotation and perspective taking skills and expand the design space of embodied interfaces that engage spatial cognition.
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