The Leibniz ScienceCampus “Cognitive Interfaces” (WCT) conducts research on how ideas, actions and working practices in the context of digital media can be improved through the design of human-machine interfaces. Alongside psychology, the research encompasses the fields of computer science, medicine, dentistry, didactics of biology, media studies and education.
There has been huge progress in the development of information and communication technologies during the 21st century. Finding out a telephone number in Australia or getting a weather forecast for Timbuktu – something which might have been extremely laborious thirty years ago – can today be achieved within 30 seconds and irrespective of location and time. Digital technologies have created an interface which provides access to an enormous range of information in real time. This interface supports what we think, know and decide, and how we behave. It is therefore a cognitive interface, as it can actively support humans in performing cognitive tasks.
Yet interfaces themselves increasingly feature the characteristics of cognitive systems: they are becoming more adaptive, form inferences, and thus “participate” in social and cognitive processes. The potential of digital technologies is particularly promising in the realm of knowledge-intensive activities. These might be learning-based contexts, but also include work-related applications for cognitive interfaces.
The Leibniz ScienceCampus “Cognitive Interfaces” draws on the topic of the founding Leibniz ScienceCampus “Informational Environments”, yet approaches it in a focused manner. It concentrates on the form that an interface between an individual and their informational environment must take in order to foster “knowledge work” (knowledge acquisition, comprehension, knowledge construction, knowledge exchange, problem-solving, decision-making). The Leibniz ScienceCampus “Cognitive Interfaces” thus focuses more strongly on psychological and educational constructs, as well as on interface design, than has hitherto been the case. It therefore overlaps with the research prevalent in computer science into the design of human-computer interaction (HCI).