Hi everyone, I just wanted to pop up from lurking to ask a question.

It seems to me that a good start to the complexity issue would be to measure 
it. So, for example, get two groups of people and present group A with a 
nominally complex task and group B with a task that is supposedly more complex 
and measure their performance. Here in the states group A could fill out a 
1040ez tax form and group B could fill out the 1040A.

Is there research along these lines?

It seems like this would allow for study of ways to reduce complexity. Group A 
would always be given the 1040ez and group B would be given variations on the 
1040A to study how to make the thing more or less complex. 



----- Original Message ----
From: Derek M Jones <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: Miguel Pessoa Monteiro <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Cc: ppig-discuss-list@open.ac.uk
Sent: Friday, October 10, 2008 7:34:55 AM
Subject: Re: What is complexity?

Miguel,

> I'm new to this list. I do research in software engineering (SE), with a 
> focus on
> aspect-oriented software development. I subscribed this list in the hope of
> obtaining answers to various questions/doubts regarding how human mind works.
> 
> To explain it briefly, I would like to know what (cognitive) psychology has 
> to say
> about concepts related to the human mind that are important for SE. Typical 
> examples
> include complexity, generalisation and abstraction, though in time I hope to 
> cover a
> few others.

I had the same aim when I started writing a book a while ago.  After
quiet a bit of reading I cam to the conclusion that cognitive psychology
has not yet reached the stage where it is in a position to start to
answer this question.
You can download various material I have written on the topic at:
www.knosof.co.uk/cbook

> A first topic I would like to bring this list, if I may, is about complexity. 
> The
> concept is constantly brought about in SE (and I'm sure in many other fields).

Complexity is certainly a key issue.
See Sweller's work on cognitive load.  A good collection of
links is available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_load

Also see Jacob Feldman's papers on Categorization and concept learning
http://ruccs.rutgers.edu/~jacob/papers.html

I don't know of any worthwhile SE papers (all of which tend to
wave their hands claiming that the described techniques reduce
complexity).

-- 
Derek M. Jones                         tel: +44 (0) 1252 520 667
Knowledge Software Ltd                 mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Source code analysis                  http://www.knosof.co.uk

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