HYP: We propose that relational reasoning and abstraction are key cognitive processes in modelling. They depend on the selection, maintenance and integration of relevant information, with constant monitoring for consistency and integrity. All these processes make use of executive control and goal pursuit, which in turn depends on working memory capacity , which is influenced by attention span  and emotional markers . (how does the new model map? well enough?)
Both WMC ,  and attention span ,  have proven to be significant sources of individual differences in abstraction, reasoning and problem solving. Even though the WM capacity limit is fixed within the 3-5 range, there are significant individual differences to be observed. Explanations for this are sought in storage and processing capacity variations. There is a debate as to whether the efficiency of processing ability is solely responsible for all WM functionality , or whether storage and processing capacities are independent and both contribute to overall individual differences .
In favour of the first perspective, individuals with a high WMC were found to be much better at attending to relevant information and thus inhibiting irrelevant information. Low capacity individuals, in contrast, processed both target and distracter information, ending up with far less meaningful information overall and so rendering distractions detrimental to performance , . This effect has been demonstrated for the auditory  and the visual modality . On the other hand, in favour of physical storage capacity, Todd & Marois  show that in the absence of processing requirements, brain activity in the posterior parietal areas correlated with WM performance.
The role of abstraction in a modelling session:
halford et al. 2010: Representations have to maintain form across different levels of abstraction (structure consistency), and retain their meaning when participating in compound representations (compositionality). Also, if one can understand the meaning of a relation, then one can generate novel instances for that specific relation (systematicity). These properties ensure that relations retain their integrity, both internally and in the context of the whole model.
Christoff et al. 2009: abstraction in the frontal lobe follows an arc with concrete relations and concepts activating the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, medium abstract relations and concepts the dorsolateral pfc and highly abstract relations/concepts the rostrolateral pfc. The more abstract the concept or relation, the more cognitive processing power was required, independently of task difficulty.
switching within abstraction levels can happen horizontally, entailing a shift in focus or scope, or vertically, which encompasses shifting between concrete and generic concepts/relations.
Pragmatics, Cognition, and Conceptual Modeling. Why Process Modelling and Process Mining may Converge.
and Conceptual Modelling
Why Process Modelling and Process Mining may Converge
HAN UAS, Arnhem
Radboud University, Nijmegen
COGNISE 2014 keynote
June 17, 2014
Prof. dr. Stijn Hoppenbrouwers
Model-Based Information systems
Business Engineering, Business Intelligence
Collaboration, Communication, Language
Organisation – IT Innovation
Professor, Fac. Engineering, HAN USC Arnhem
Assistant Professor, CScience, RU Nijmegen
The Context of Conceptual Modelling
Diagram or verbalized?
What are CMs used for?
• Specifically, situationally
How crucial is the “meta model”?M. product versus m. product
Meaning (semantics)Form (syntax)
Meaning in context
Language utterances both mean something and do something
Pragmatics concerns contextualised meaning/doing
It usually adds to generic “skeleton meanings”
Modelling as a Focused Conversation
Product: information; answers to questions
– What questions?
– What constraints to answers?
Process: conversation; Q, A, discussion.
Example: simple process modelling session
Stance: pragmatics should be leading
(not syntax/semantics): WHAT DO YOU MODEL FOR?
(But what about the Engineering point of view?)
• Modelling: (co-)creation of a text
• Propositions are discussed, accepted, rejected, …
• Breakdown of conversation in Interactions: fairly
standard discourse analysis/speech acts etc.
• Both interactions and models are subject to Rules
• Goals are an important sub-class of rules
• Many (sub)goals at many levels
Goals of Modelling
Collaborative modelling is a constrained activity, with many goals
and sub-goals, for example:
Utility Goals Modelling Goals
Textual Formal (proof) Consent
Note that the “utility goals” determine the setting of the “modelling goals”
Dialogue Games 1/2
My “frame of choice” for describing the modelling
Much more open than a “workflow” or “cookbook”
Theoretical roots in Wittgenstein’s ‘language games’
and in Argumentation Theory
InterLoc operationalization: “Structured Chats”;
constrained conversation “moves”
Opener mechanism: e.g. “I disagree with this because
…”; “I propose to include activity Y, after activity X”
I propose the following IDEA:
I propose the following VARIABLE for
I propose the following IDEA as
expressed through the following
I propose the following CAUSE with its
POLARITY [variable, +/-]:
I propose the following CONSEQUENCE
with its POLARITY [variable, +/-]:
I propose that the polarity of this variable
I have a question:
I have a question about this proposition:
Accept / Reject
I accept the proposition:
I reject the proposition:
I would like to clarify this:
I have a remark:
Facilitator statements and
questions (only to be used by
Instruction of the facilitator:
Directive of the facilitator:
This is the problem variable:
Please write down a number of ideas
as to what may influence, or be
influenced by, the
Please propose an IDEA and if
possible a VARIABLE, [player]:
Which VARIABLE would you like to
link to this idea?
Which of the variables are a CAUSE
for change in the problem
Which of the variables are a
CONSEQUENCE for change in
the problem variable?
What is the POLARITY of this variable
Looking at the model, do you see any
There is a CLOSED LOOP
Openers Used to Structure the GMB Chat
Dirk van der Linden et al.:
What do modelling concepts mean to individuals?
Paper presentation later in this workshop
Contextuality, prototype theory, word meaning
“Dialectology in Conceptual Modelling”
Measuring individual meaning: the Semantic
Link with the individual: C.S. Pierce / FRISCO; actor
added as crucial fourth element in the Ogden/Richards
“triangle of meaning”
Ilona Wilmont et al.:
Abstraction and Executive Control
Cognitive underpinnings of the act of modelling
Nature or nurture? What is learnable?
Clashes between capacities in collaborative modelling?
Abstraction: core of modelling; “lenses” and focus
– Crucial for abstraction
– Crucial in monitoring and achieving modelling goals
Working memory underneath
“Self constraint” (inhibition) is a crucial property
Many other aspects! All complementary.
Ilona’s Basic Research Variables
coll. modelling sessions
In the observed/recorded sessions: looking mostly at where
aimlessness, miscommunication, misunderstanding and disagreement
occur, and what they seem based on
Abstraction: “leaving things out”
more cognitive processing
power (RLPFC activation)
less cognitive processing
power (VLPFC activation)
shift in focus
medium cognitive processing
power (DLPFC activation)
Some concrete implications
Abstraction is relative, not absolute
What is abstract can become concrete to someone
Including “Concrete instances/examples” is crucial if
abstraction is a challenge
Concrete = “familiar” rather than “material”
Executive Control and WM are crucial to:
– Abstraction / Relational Reasoning
– Monitoring progress and the achievement of goals
… which emphasizes the importance of knowing the
goals of your modelling effort: action pragmatics
If you leave context (generalization), you risk loosing
domain meaning and with that your co-modellers
Danny Oldenhave et al.: Game Psychology
Different angle at “games”: gamification
Make cooperation more focused and engaging
Design for emotion and experience
Once again: achieving behaviour change and
work towards goal achievement
Steps in design (collaborative environments, ISs):
1. Establish business objectives
2. Describe desired behaviour
3. Describe intended players (killers, achievers, socializers, explorers)
4. Consider motivation for behavioural change
5. Consider the fun factor (emotion/cognition)
6. Select appropriate game elements
BEYOND THE DESIGN PARADIGM: WILL
MODELLING MEET MINING?
And now for something rather different (and yet…)
Let’s ask ourselves some radical questions
Many have been considered with making modelling more
accessible, easier, more interactive, more user friendly, …
But how far, in the long run, can we stretch the well established
practice of Conceptual Modelling at design time?
Time, money, effort; willingness, capacity?
How might we instead/also do covert, natural modelling as a
by-product of regular, operational communication about
This would increase the need for taking the cognitive and
pragmatic factor in IS even more seriously, more closely fusing IS
The goal-driven, contextual nature of systems modelling and
design would be greatly emphasized, bringing to the fore both
pragmatics and cognition as essential pillars of IS modelling and
Towards a new paradigm in ISs?
Could we perhaps move into a new “modelling” paradigm putting
operational communication central and touching upon AI and
(process) mining techniques in combination with (collaborative)
Will we jump into the chaotic, socially networked, mass-oriented
world of the “end user” and use wizard-like interaction forms to
elicit and co-conceptualize the input for tailored cooperation and
Conceptual modelling new style meets business intelligence,
analytics, big data, AI, with gamification as an add-on?
Social Network Information and Cooperation Systems
(SNICS); the case of Healthcare
“[I] ask [you] to do [this]”;
“[I] agree to do [this] for [you];
“[I] intend to do [this-and-this] with [the client]”;
“[I] take [this medicine] [daily] at [Xs] orders”;
“[I] provide [you] with [this information] within two days”.
“Attitutude info” could be added!
“I can’t hack this”;
“What is this good for?”
“Can someone explain this to me?”
“That’s a great relief!”
“Can’t I do a bit more of this sort of
thing?” “Can I please get help with this?”
“You can’t do this!”
Links up with DEMO concepts,
But in operations, not in design
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