Embodied Action & Enaction

ENACTION

  • embodied action

embodied: cognition depends upon the kinds of experience that come from having a body with various sensorimotor capacities and that these individual sensorimotor capacities are themselves embedded in a more encompassing biological, psychological and cultural context/ action: sensory and motor processes, perception and action, are fundamentally inseparable in lived cognition.

  • enaction

it consists of two points: a. perception consists in perceptually guided action (how the perceiver can can guide his actions in his local situation) and b. cognitive structures emerge from the recurrent sensorimotor patterns that enable action to be perceptually guided (since the situations an individual is found in constantly change, the reference point for understanding perception is no longer a pregiven, but the sensorimotor structure of the perceiver-the way in which the nervous system links sensory and motor surfaces). The overall concern for the enactive approach to perception is to determine the common principles or lawful linkages between sensory and motor systems.

Merleau-Ponty:

The properties of the object and the intentions of the subject . . . are not only intermingled; they also constitute a new whole (…) Since all the movements of the organism are always conditioned by external influences, one can, if one wishes, readily treat behavior as an effect of the milieu. But in the same way, since all the stimulations which the organism receives have in tum been possible only by its preceding movements which have culminated in exposing the receptor organ to external influences, one could also say that behavior is the first cause of all the stimulations.

Piaget:

The laws of cognitive gevelopment, even at the sensorimotor stage, are an assimilation of and an accommodation to that pregiven world.

One of the most fundamental cognitive activities that all organisms perform is categorization. By this means the uniqueness of each experience is transformed into the more limited set of learned, meaningful categories to which humans and other organisms respond (…) In the enactive view, although mind and world arise together in enaction, their manner of arising in any particular situation is not arbitrary (…) The basic level of categorization appears to be the point at which cognition and environment become simultaneously enacted.

Johnson:

kinesthetic image schemas: for example, the container schema, the part-whole schema, and the source-path-goal schema

 

References

Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch, 1993. The embodied mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience, MIT Press, pp. 172-180

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