Reference: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (New Directions in Cognitive Science)

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Disciplinary Realities and Interdisciplinary Prospects | Metanexus

Return to Book Page. Preview — Reference by Jeanette K Gundel. Reference: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Nancy Hedberg Editor. The ability to produce and understand referring expressions is basic to human language use and human cognition. The article The ability to produce and understand referring expressions is basic to human language use and human cognition.

The articles in this volume are concerned with some of the central themes and challenges in research on reference within the cognitive sciences - philosophy including philosophy of language and mind, logic, and formal semantics , theoretical and computational linguistics, and cognitive psychology.


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The essays examine reference from a number of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, informed by different research traditions and employing different methodologies. Get A Copy. More Details Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Reference , please sign up. Interdisciplinarity involves researchers, students, and teachers in the goals of connecting and integrating several academic schools of thought, professions, or technologies—along with their specific perspectives—in the pursuit of a common task.

Interdisciplinary may be applied where the subject is felt to have been neglected or even misrepresented in the traditional disciplinary structure of research institutions, for example, women's studies or ethnic area studies. Interdisciplinarity can likewise be applied to complex subjects that can only be understood by combining the perspectives of two or more fields. The adjective interdisciplinary is most often used in educational circles when researchers from two or more disciplines pool their approaches and modify them so that they are better suited to the problem at hand, including the case of the team-taught course where students are required to understand a given subject in terms of multiple traditional disciplines.

Dynamics of cognition

For example, the subject of land use may appear differently when examined by different disciplines, for instance, biology , chemistry , economics , geography , and politics. Any broadminded humanist project involves interdisciplinarity, and history shows a crowd of cases, as seventeenth-century Leibniz's task to create a system of universal justice, which required linguistics, economics, management, ethics, law philosophy, politics, and even sinology.


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  • Interdisciplinary programs sometimes arise from a shared conviction that the traditional disciplines are unable or unwilling to address an important problem. For example, social science disciplines such as anthropology and sociology paid little attention to the social analysis of technology throughout most of the twentieth century. As a result, many social scientists with interests in technology have joined science, technology and society programs, which are typically staffed by scholars drawn from numerous disciplines.

    They may also arise from new research developments, such as nanotechnology , which cannot be addressed without combining the approaches of two or more disciplines.

    Examples include quantum information processing , an amalgamation of quantum physics and computer science , and bioinformatics , combining molecular biology with computer science. Sustainable development as a research area deals with problems requiring analysis and synthesis across economic, social and environmental spheres; often an integration of multiple social and natural science disciplines. Interdisciplinary research is also key to the study of health sciences, for example in studying optimal solutions to diseases. At another level, interdisciplinarity is seen as a remedy to the harmful effects of excessive specialization and isolation in information silos.

    On some views, however, interdisciplinarity is entirely indebted to those who specialize in one field of study—that is, without specialists, interdisciplinarians would have no information and no leading experts to consult. Others place the focus of interdisciplinarity on the need to transcend disciplines, viewing excessive specialization as problematic both epistemologically and politically.

    Reference: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. New Directions in Cognitive Science.

    When interdisciplinary collaboration or research results in new solutions to problems, much information is given back to the various disciplines involved. Therefore, both disciplinarians and interdisciplinarians may be seen in complementary relation to one another. Because most participants in interdisciplinary ventures were trained in traditional disciplines, they must learn to appreciate differing of perspectives and methods.

    For example, a discipline that places more emphasis on quantitative rigor may produce practitioners who are more scientific in their training than others; in turn, colleagues in "softer" disciplines who may associate quantitative approaches with difficulty grasp the broader dimensions of a problem and lower rigor in theoretical and qualitative argumentation. An interdisciplinary program may not succeed if its members remain stuck in their disciplines and in disciplinary attitudes.

    Those who lack experience in interdisciplinary collaborations may also not fully appreciate the intellectual contribution of colleagues from those discipline [7]. From the disciplinary perspective, however, much interdisciplinary work may be seen as "soft", lacking in rigor, or ideologically motivated; these beliefs place barriers in the career paths of those who choose interdisciplinary work.

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    For example, interdisciplinary grant applications are often refereed by peer reviewers drawn from established disciplines ; not surprisingly, interdisciplinary researchers may experience difficulty getting funding for their research. In addition, untenured researchers know that, when they seek promotion and tenure , it is likely that some of the evaluators will lack commitment to interdisciplinarity.


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    • They may fear that making a commitment to interdisciplinary research will increase the risk of being denied tenure. Interdisciplinary programs may also fail if they are not given sufficient autonomy. For example, interdisciplinary faculty are usually recruited to a joint appointment , with responsibilities in both an interdisciplinary program such as women's studies and a traditional discipline such as history. If the traditional discipline makes the tenure decisions, new interdisciplinary faculty will be hesitant to commit themselves fully to interdisciplinary work.

      Other barriers include the generally disciplinary orientation of most scholarly journals, leading to the perception, if not the fact, that interdisciplinary research is hard to publish. In addition, since traditional budgetary practices at most universities channel resources through the disciplines, it becomes difficult to account for a given scholar or teacher's salary and time.

      During periods of budgetary contraction, the natural tendency to serve the primary constituency i. For these same reasons, the introduction of new interdisciplinary programs is often resisted because it is perceived as a competition for diminishing funds. Due to these and other barriers, interdisciplinary research areas are strongly motivated to become disciplines themselves.

      If they succeed, they can establish their own research funding programs and make their own tenure and promotion decisions. In so doing, they lower the risk of entry. Examples of former interdisciplinary research areas that have become disciplines, many of them named for their parent disciplines, include neuroscience , cybernetics , biochemistry and biomedical engineering.

      Disciplinary Realities and Interdisciplinary Prospects

      These new fields are occasionally referred to as "interdisciplines". On the other hand, even though interdisciplinary activities are now a focus of attention for institutions promoting learning and teaching, as well as organizational and social entities concerned with education, they are practically facing complex barriers, serious challenges and criticism. The most important obstacles and challenges faced by interdisciplinary activities in the past two decades can be divided into "professional", "organizational", and "cultural" obstacles.

      An initial distinction should be made between interdisciplinary studies, which can be found spread across the academy today, and the study of interdisciplinarity, which involves a much smaller group of researchers. The former is instantiated in thousands of research centers across the US and the world. As of September 1, , the Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity has ceased to exist. This is the result of administrative decisions at the University of North Texas.

      Ayres and Paas a, b provided a plausible explanation as to why animations can sometimes fail, in that many contain transitory information. If needed information disappears from the computer screen or video recording before the learner can adequately process or combine it with new information, then WM resources are over stretched accordingly. This form of extraneous load will inhibit learning.

      However, van Gog et al. Cognitive brain research The article by Kirschner et al. Their review of the literature on learning effectiveness of individual versus collaborative learning revealed that there is no clear and unequivocal picture of how, when, and why the effectiveness and efficiency of these two approaches to learning differ.

      They identify several methodological problems as causes for the mixed findings and propose possible solutions to those problems. The key solution combines CLT and the results of cognitive brain research. Cognitive brain research on interhemispheric interaction e. Processing within one hemisphere becomes less efficient than processing between the two hemispheres as task complexity increases. Combining those results with CLT, Kirschner et al.

      Philosophy of science The article by Gerjets et al. Examining CLT from the methodological perspectives of Popper and Sneed, the conclusion is reached that CLT fails the Popperian test but can be accommodated under the structuralist position of Sneed. Problematical from the Popper view concerns the assumption that cognitive load consists of three different cognitive loads intrinsic, extraneous, and germane. Because these three constructs have yet to be empirical validated, CLT cannot be considered a true theory according to Popper. In contrast, The Sneed position does not require that the fundamental assumptions need be validated experimentally but are considered nontestable axioms.

      Therefore, it is less important to test the existence of these basic axioms but more important to test the verifiable hypotheses and applications that the overall network of assumptions generates. Gerjets et al. Firstly, they present an argument based on the research of Gerjets et al. Secondly, they suggest that although it is not important to verify the existence of the three loads from a structuralist point of view, CLT could benefit significantly from individual measures of them.