Header image  
Studying Cognition in the Wild  


Most of my research projects have three components: a theory called Distributed Cognition, a method called Cognitive Ethnography, and a subject matter activity system. Over the years I have explored the nature of cognition in the activity systems shown below.


Trobriand Islands
Papua New Guinea

Social Science
Research Council:
  STEAMER: Steam
Propulsion Training

US Navy: 1980 - 1985
Sloan Foundation:
1978 - 1980 &
US Navy: 1980 - 1985
NASA/Boeing: 1989 -
Simulations of
Cultural Processes

NSF: 1990-94
  Nonhuman Primates
Unfunded (so far)
  Scientific Practices
NSF: 2007 -


Overview publications:

Hutchins E.  Cognitive artifacts.  The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences, RA Wilson & FC Keil (eds), Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp 126-128, 1999. 

Hollan J. D., Hutchins E. & D. Kirsh.  Distributed cognition: toward a new foundation for human-computer interaction research.  ACM Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction: Special Issue on Human-Computer Interaction in the New Millenium. Volume 7, No2. pp 174-196, June 2000.

Hutchins E.  Distributed cognition.  In: The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, pp 2068-2072, 2001.

Hutchins E. Material anchors for conceptual blends. Journal of Pragmatics.  37:1555-1577, 2005.

Hutchins, E. (in press) Cognitive Ecology.  Topics in Cognitive Science.

Bender, A., Hutchins, E. & Medin, D. (in press) Anthropology in Cognitive Science.  Topics in Cognitive Science.