Embodied Cognition - Six Views of Embodied Cognition

Six Views of Embodied Cognition

The following “Six Views of Embodied Cognition” are taken from Margaret Wilson:

  1. "Cognition is situated. Cognitive activity takes place in the context of a real-world environment, and inherently involves perception and action." One example of this is moving around a room while, at the same time, trying to decide where the furniture should go.
  2. "Cognition is time-pressured. We are 'mind on the hoof' (Clark, 1997), and cognition must be understood in terms of how it functions under the pressure of real-time interaction with the environment." When you’re under pressure to make a decision, the choice that is made emerges from the confluence of pressures that you’re under and in their absence, a decision may be made completely different. Since there was pressure, the result was the decision you made.
  3. "We off-load cognitive work onto the environment. Because of limits on our information-processing abilities (e.g., limits on attention and working memory), we exploit the environment to reduce the cognitive workload. We make the environment hold or even manipulate information for us, and we harvest that information only on a need-to-know basis." This is seen when people have calendars, agendas, PDAs, or anything to help them with everyday functions. We write things down so we can use the information when we need it, instead of taking the time to memorize or encode it into our minds.
  4. "The environment is part of the cognitive system. The information flow between mind and world is so dense and continuous that, for scientists studying the nature of cognitive activity, the mind alone is not a meaningful unit of analysis." This statement means that the production of cognitive activity does not come from the mind alone, but rather is a mixture of the mind and the environmental situation that we are in. These interactions become part of our cognitive systems. Our thinking, decision-making, and future are all impacted by our environmental situations.
  5. "Cognition is for action. The function of the mind is to guide action and things such as perception and memory must be understood in terms of their contribution to situation-appropriate behavior." This claim has to do with the visual and memory perception that our minds have. Our vision is encoded into our minds as a “what” and “where” concept--meaning the structure and placement of an object. This idea goes back to what we are used to and what we have been exposed to. Our perception of what we see comes from our experience of it and exposure to it. Memory in this case doesn’t necessarily mean memorizing something, but rather remembering in a relevant point of view instead of as it really is. We remember how relevant it is to us, and decide whether it’s worth remembering.
  6. "Off-line cognition is body-based. Even when decoupled from the environment, the activity of the mind is grounded in mechanisms that evolved for interaction with the environment- that is, mechanisms of sensory processing and motor control." This is shown with infants or toddlers best. Children utilize skills and abilities they were born with, such as sucking, grasping, and listening, to learn more about the environment. The skills are broken down into five main categories that combine sensory with motor skills, sensorimotor functions. The five main skills are:
    1. Mental Imagery: Is visualizing something based on your perception of it, when it is not there or is not present. An example of this would be having a race. You are all excited and full of adrenaline and you take a moment and you can actually see yourself winning the race.
    2. Working Memory: Short term memory
    3. Episodic Memory: Long term memory
    4. Implicit Memory: means by which we learn certain skills until they become automatic for us. An example of this would be an adult brushing his/her teeth, or an expert race car driver putting the car in drive.
    5. Reasoning and Problem-Solving: Having a mental model of something will increase problem-solving approaches.

Read more about this topic:  Embodied Cognition

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