Homo Informaticus

Homo Informaticus

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5986-5.ch002
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Abstract

This chapter discusses the concept of homo informaticus—the individual organization member framed in the IVO perspective. Homo informaticus is a cognitive microcosm that performs complex cognitive processes, engages in decision making and satisfying of informing needs, and designs and evaluates information systems (IS). Discussed are cognitive processes of thinking, feeling, perceiving, memorizing/memory recalling, and learning. These cognitive processes are involved in the fundamental informing process that starts with perception of external data, continues with applying knowledge to data, and ends with inferring information (meaning). The perspective of key cognitive processes enriches the informing model: perception is driven by previous knowledge, memory retrieval is engaged, and thinking is an overall driver, engaging both ratio and emotions. The discussion addresses cognitive limitations. Memory is limited in volume and content, perception is prone to illusions, and thinking is susceptible to biases. These limitations influence the outcomes of informing (information created) and learning (knowledge acquired). Decision making is affected as well, as indicated in its various models that reveal non-rational aspects. It is argued that homo informaticus is subject to informing (information) needs and actively seeks to satisfy them. Several models addressing this topic are examined. The chapter also covers cognitive and learning types that can be used for understanding the diversity characterizing homo informaticus. Karl Jung's typology is coupled with the dimensions of data scope, location, and processing mode. Kolb's learning styles are discussed in turn. Furthermore, the system evaluation capability of homo informaticus is demonstrated in the context of system adoption models. Finally, the system design capability is discussed in the historical context of Scandinavian experience.
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Homo Informaticus And Cognitive Infoprocesses

Homo informaticus is the subject that performs high level cognitive processes. These are represented in Figure 1. The model depicts main cognitive processes of thinking, feeling, perception, learning, and memorizing as well as their corresponding states or structures signified in italics (thought, emotion, percept, and memory).

Figure 1.

Cognitive processes and states

The central idea in the model is the relationships between cognitive processes and between them and cognitive structures. One should not infer that the relationships are linear. For example, the process of perceiving that is initiated by external data can be assisted by feeling and then by thinking, or thinking and then feeling. It may also happen that the process of feeling dominates the perception process, preempting room for thinking; e.g., an existentially grave situation can trigger an overwhelming emotion of fear, which further influences the perception process. Learning compounds some combination of other cognitive processes and structures, such as perceiving, retrieving of memory for previous knowledge, and thinking.

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