CaMeRa: A computational model of multiple representations

. Cognitive Science 21 (3): 305--350 (August 1997)


This research aims to clarify, by constructing and testing a computer simulation, the use of multiple representations in problem solving, focusing on their role in visual reasoning. The model is motivated by extensive experimental evidence in the literature for the features it incorporates, but this article focuses on the system's structure. We illustrate the model's behavior by simulating the cognitive and perceptual processes of an economics expert as he teaches some well-learned economics principles while drawing a graph on a blackboard. Data in the experimental literature and concurrent verbal protocols were used to guide construction of a linked production system and parallel network, CaMeRa (Computation with Multiple Representations), that employs a &\#x201c;Mind's Eye&\#x201d; representation for pictorial information, consisting of a bitmap and associated node-link structures. Propositional list structures are used to represent verbal information and reasoning. Small individual pieces from the different representations are linked on a sequential and temporary basis to form a reasoning and inferencing chain, using visually encoded information recalled to the Mind's Eye from long-term memory and from cues recognized on an external display. CaMeRa, like the expert, uses the diagrammatic and verbal representations to complement one another, thus exploiting the unique advantages of each.

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