Monday 30 August 2010

"Moving Through Time" and embodied cognition

In which I am a bit rude about a rubbish paper and worry about how to kill papers like it.

The term 'embodied cognition' has been checked out of the library by a lot of different people, all of whom use it to mean something different. My least favourite definition comes from the cognitive literature, which considers embodiment to be about how internal, abstract cognitive function can be 'revealed' motorically (the Barselou (2008) version of embodiment). This definition is rooted firmly in the assumption of mental representation. For me, embodiment is only interesting if it contributes in a meaningful way to what cognition is, and thus I define embodied cognition in the other direction - embodied cognition is about how cognition is shaped by the kind of perceiving-acting organism we are.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Coordination and the Haken-Kelso-Bunz Model

Other coordination posts are here.

Now we have the basics out of the way, we can explore some of the key characteristics of coordinated rhythmic movements.

Kelso's early experiments established a set of basic phenomena. Recall that, at the moment, the task is to wiggle your fingers in and out (towards the midline) at some mean relative phase and at some frequency. Moving your fingers in-phase (0° mean relative phase) has the fingers moving in the same direction at the same time, and entails the co-activation of homologous muscle groups in each hand.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Coordinated rhythmic movement. - an introduction to an experimental paradigm

I have some papers I wanted to talk about, but it occurred to me that they only make sense in a context. So I'm going to spend some time talking about the experimental task I use a lot, why it's interesting and what we can learn from it about perception and action.

To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. My hammer is coordinated rhythmic movement, and I use it to study everything I'm interested in - perception-action, learning, ageing, you name it. This task is a workhorse of the perception-action literature and has been since Kelso described it in 1981 (after the task was, as far as I can find, first described by Cohen, 1971).

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Rebooting the blog

The curse of only occasionally writing a blog is that when other things intrude (like real work) the blog tends to suffer. A bunch of work plus finishing reading Heft lead to this hiatus (once Heft's covered Gibson, he moves onto Roger Barker and while Barker seems like an interesting (and very ecological) researcher his interests fall quite convincingly outwith mine. So blogging about it seemed a little pointless.).

The question is, where next? I plan to re-read Radical Embodied Cognitive Science and blog that, now that I've had time to digest it, think about it, and get more into the 'affordances-are-dispositions' vs '-are relations' argument. We may yet also write a couple of papers on that, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I'm keen to get back into the discipline of writing a couple of times a week. I may devote one post to reviewing specific papers; I'm developing two grants using coordinated rhythmic movement and I've been reading and developing the arguments for a while now. There's an interesting tension in the literature on this, and I've finally gotten two key papers on this topic in press so I can finally begin to really get moving on this topic. I think one post a week will be on a paper by myself or someone else which I can use to highlight the various theoretical conflicts.

It's not like anyone's reading :v