What can Embodied Cognition tell us about creativity and design? By Professor Chris Baber
In this talk, Chris will be overviewing his recent book (which you can download from here: https://direct.mit.edu/books/oa-monograph/5297/Embodying-DesignAn-Applied-Science-of-Radical). In summary, Chris claims that the concepts such as mental models and schema, which are much discussed in Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology, are misleading. These concepts assume that a primary purpose of cognition is to translate the world into concepts that can be acted upon mentally in order to plan and evaluate action. An alternative perspective is that, to use Rorty’s phrase the ‘brain is for coping not copying’, and citing Brooks, the ‘world is its own best world’. This is the basis of embodied cognition, in which thinking and acting are intertwined. In the version that Chris prefers, this combines Gibson’s notion of affordance with dynamic systems models of human activity (as initially developed by Chemero). But much of the foundational work focused on skill in physical tasks or used fairly simple cognitive activity as its exemplar. In Chris’ work, he has been looking at creativity (which remains a hard problem for cognitive psychology) from this embodied cognition perspective. In his talk he gives some examples of this work, and then consider how this particular theory of embodied cognition can inform design practice, particularly as a way of providing a theoretical basis for ecological interface design.
As part of a new initiative for the Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems to share our work to a wider audience, we are recording presentations our researchers and PhD students have given at key international and domestic conferences.
Human Factors and Emerging Risks Symposium 2021. Presented by the team at Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems, Professor Neville Stanton and Dr Clare Dallat. May 2021