Cognitive Science and Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Janice Light, Peter Lindsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


To date, research and clinical attention in the field of augmentativeand alternative communication (AAC) has largely ignored the role of cognition. This paper explores some of the theoretical issues currently being addressed in the field of cognitive science and discusses the potential impact of these issues for persons who use AAC systems. Issues considered include the information-processing capabilities of human memory systems, the limitations of working memory, the knowledge structures of long-term memory, the encoding of information into memory, the retrieval of information from memory stores, the construction of mental models to make sense of the world, the role of metacognition in problem solving, and the nature of novice and expert performances. Case examples from the AAC field are used to illustrate how the theoretical constructs presented may apply to system design and to clinical and educational practice. Directions for further research to address the information processing issues in the AAC field are proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-203
Number of pages18
JournalAugmentative and Alternative Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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