Activity theory and human-computer interaction / Nardi (1996)

Citation - Nardi, B. A. (1996). Activity theory and human-computer interaction. In B. A. Nardi (Ed.), Context and consciousness: Activity theory and human-computer interaction (pp. 7-16).

Keyword - Activity theory


Ativity theory is

  • a powerful and clarifying descriptive tool rather than a strongly predictive theory.

The object of AT is

  • to understand the unity of consciousness and activity.
  • to understand the interpenetration of the individual, other people, and artifacts in everyday activity.

(in AT) Consciousness is

  • not a set of discrete disembodied cognitive acts (decision making, classification,


  • not the brain;
  • located in everyday practice: you are what you do.

(in AT) Action (what you do) is

  • firmly and inextricably embedded in the social matrix of which every person is an organic part.

(in AT) social matrix is

  • composed of people and artifacts.
    • Artifacts: may be physical tools or sign systems such as human language.

AT's methodology

  • emphasizes naturalistic study, culture, and history.

Leont'ev (1974)

mediation: all human experience is shaped by the tools and sign systems we use.

HCI & consciousness:


file link - Google Schloar, XXC