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The cognitive mechanisms underlying model-based discovery and learning

Agency : DST Cognitive Science Research Initiative;
Category : Exploring Higher Mental Functions
Period : 3 years, starting October 2013
PI : Sanjay Chandrasekharan

This project involves developing experiments to understand how students learn new concepts via the manipulation of external models and artifacts. The focus of the project is understanding this process at the cognitive/neural mechanism level.

Getting a Grip on the Numerical World: Kinesthetic Interaction with Simulations
to Support Collaborative Discovery in Systems Biology

Agency : National Science Foundation, USA
Period : 3 years, starting September 2013
Based at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA
PI : Alexandra Mazalek
Role : Collaborator

This project draws on recent work in embodied cognition, which suggests that the process of building models--particularly models with dynamic visualizations--can aid conceptual understanding in complex problem domains. We aim to develop a system to support and enhance collaborative discovery by re-representing abstract scientific problems in an embodied way. The proposed system will allow researchers to couple visuo-spatial skills with computational techniques to develop understanding and collaborate in the modeling of complex biological systems. Simultaneously, the project will develop techniques to support collaborative modeling in science and engineering. The project will thus test how theories from embodied cognition can inform interaction design, and create explicit knowledge about how collaborative discovery happens in the sciences.