Relatedly, what is the relationship of embodiment to being and to individuality? Is embodiment a necessary condition of being? Of being an individual? What are the theological dimensions of embodiment? To what extent has the concept of embodiment been deployed in the history of philosophy to contrast the created world with the state of existence enjoyed by God?
What are the normative dimensions of theories of embodiment? To what extent is the problem of embodiment a distinctly western preoccupation? Is it the result of a particular local and contingent history, or does it impose itself as a universal problem, wherever and whenever human beings begin to reflect on the conditions of their existence? Ultimately, to what extent can natural science help us to resolve philosophical questions about embodiment, many of which are vastly older than the particular scientific research programs we now believe to hold the greatest promise for revealing to us the bodily basis, or the ultimate physical causes, of who we really are?
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Embodiment: A History Justin E.
Smith Abstract Embodiment—defined as having, being in, or being associated with a body—is a feature of the existence of many entities, perhaps even of all entities. More Embodiment—defined as having, being in, or being associated with a body—is a feature of the existence of many entities, perhaps even of all entities. This is a radical move towards a total re-localization of mental processes out of the neural domain. Embodied cognition is a topic of research in social and cognitive psychology , covering issues such as social interaction and decision-making.
For example, when participants hold a pencil in their teeth engaging the muscles of a smile, they comprehend pleasant sentences faster than unpleasant ones, while holding a pencil between their nose and upper lip to engage the muscles of a frown has the reverse effect.
Robotics researchers such as Rodney Brooks , Hans Moravec and Rolf Pfeifer have argued that true artificial intelligence can only be achieved by machines that have sensory and motor skills and are connected to the world through a body. This was extended into the audio-visual domain by the "talking heads" approach of Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson, Rubin, and other colleagues. One embodied cognition study shows that action intention can affect processing in visual search , with more orientation errors for pointing than for grasping.
There were randomized numbers of distractors as well 0, 3, 6, or 9 , which differed from the target in color, orientation, or both. A tone sounded to inform participants which target orientation to find. Participants kept their eyes on a fixation point until it turned from red to the target color.
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The screen then lit up and the participants searched for the target, either pointing to it or grasping it depending on the block. There were 2 blocks for pointing and 2 for grasping, with the order counterbalanced. Each block had 64 trials. Results from the experiment show that accuracy decreases with an increase in the number of distractors. Internal states can affect distance perception , which relates to embodied cognition. A control group walked across campus but did not wear a costume. At the conclusion of the experiment, each participant completed a survey which asked them to estimate the distance they walked.
The high-choice participants perceived the distance walked as significantly shorter than participants in the low-choice and control groups, even though they walked the same distance. Researchers have found that when making judgements about objects in photographs, people will take the perspective of a person in the picture instead of their own. For example, if the 2 objects were an apple and a banana, the participants would have to respond to a question about the location of the apple compared to the banana. The photographs either had no person, a person looking at the object, in this case the banana, or a person reaching for the banana.
The photograph and question appeared in a larger set of questionnaires not related to the study. Results show that participants who viewed photographs that included a person were significantly more likely to respond from another's perspective than those who saw photographs with no person.
Some researchers extend embodied cognition to include language. The motor system is involved in language comprehension, in this case when sentences were performable by a human, there was a change in participants' overall movement of a pendulum. In the control condition, participants swung the pendulum without performing the "sentence judgement task. The "plausible" sentences made sense semantically, while the "implausible" ones did not. The "performable" sentences could be performed by a human, while the "inanimate" sentences could not. Participants responded by saying "yes" to the "plausible" sentences.
Results show a significant "relative phase shift," or overall change in movement of the swinging pendulum, for the "performable" sentences. Embodiment effects emerge in the way in which people of different sex and temperament perceive verbal material, such as common adjectives and abstract and neutral nouns. Trofimova, who first described this phenomenon in her experiments, called it "projection through capacities".
This phenomenon emerges when people's lexical perception depends upon their capacities to handle the events; when their information processing registers mostly those aspects of objects or of a situation that they can properly react to and deal with according to their inherent capacities. Females with stronger social or physical endurance estimated social attractors in more positive terms than weaker females. Capacities related to the tempo of activities also appeared to impact the perception of lexical material: men with faster motor-physical tempo estimated neutral, abstract time-related concepts significantly in more positive terms than men with slower tempo.
A study examining memory and embodied cognition illustrates that people remember more of the gist of a story when they physically act it out. Participants were given 5 minutes to read the monologue twice, unaware of a future recall test. In the "Read Only" condition participants filled out unrelated questionnaires after reading the monologue.
In the "Writing" condition participants responded to 5 questions about the story from the perspective of the character in the monologue. They had 6 minutes to answer each question.
In the "Collaborative Discussion" condition participants responded from the character's perspective to the same questions as the "Writing" group, but in groups of 4 or 5 women. They were also given 6 minutes per question and everyone participated in answering each question. The "Independent Discussion" condition was the same as the "Collaborative Discussion," except 1 person answered each question. In the "Improvisation" condition participants acted out 5 scenes from the monologue in groups of 5 women.
The researchers suggest that this condition involves embodied cognition and will produce better memory for the monologue. Every participant played the main character and a supporting character once. Participants were given short prompts from lines in the monologue, which were excluded from the memory test. Participants had 2 minutes to choose characters and 4 minutes for improvisations.
The recall test was the monologue with 96 words or phrases missing. Participants had to fill in the blanks as accurately as possible. Researchers gave the recall test to a group who did not read the monologue. They scored significantly lower than the other groups, which indicated that guessing was not easy. The combination of "Verbatim" and "Gist" was called "Total Memory.
Ideas stemming from embodied cognition research have been applied to the field of learning. It has been shown that bodily activity can be used to enhance learning in several studies. A series of experiments demonstrated the interrelation between motor experience and high-level reasoning. For example, although most individuals recruit visual processes when presented with spatial problems such as mental rotation tasks  motor experts favor motor processes to perform the same tasks, with higher overall performance.
In research focused on the approach and avoidance effect, people showed an approach effect for positive words. In the "negative toward condition," participants moved negative words toward the center and positive words away. Participants were given feedback about their accuracy at the end of each of the 4 experimental blocks. In the first experiment the word at the center of the screen had a positive valence , while in the second experiment the central word had a negative valence. In the third experiment, the center of the screen had an empty box.
Bodies of Thought: Embodiment, Identity and Modernity
As predicted, in the first experiment participants in the "positive toward condition" responded significantly faster than those in the "negative toward condition. Despite mixed results regarding the researchers' expectations, they maintain that the motor system is important in processing higher level representations such as the action goal.
As part of a larger study, researchers separated participants into 5 groups with different instructions. In the "control" condition, participants were instructed to simply observe the product. The "correction" condition involved the same instructions as the approach condition, except participants were told that the body can affect judgment. In the "approach information" condition, participants had to list 5 reasons why they would obtain the product. After viewing a picture of an aversive product, participants rated on a scale of 1 to 7 how desirable the product was and how much they approached of or avoided the product.
They also provided how much they would pay for the product.
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There were no differences between the "avoidance," "control," "correction," and "approach information" conditions. Simulation of approach can affect liking and willingness to pay for a product, but the effect can be reversed if the person knows about this influence. As part of a larger study, one experiment randomly assigned college undergraduates to 2 groups. The participants were then asked to fill out donations to Haiti for the Red Cross in sealed envelopes. They were told to return the envelope regardless of whether they donated. They also filled out questionnaires about their feelings about the Red Cross, their tendency to donate, their feelings about Haiti, what they thought the purpose of the study was, etc.
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Significantly more participants in the "muscle-firming" condition than in the "control" condition donated money. As the researchers predicted, the "muscle-firming" condition helped participants get over their physical aversion to viewing the devastation in Haiti and spend money. Muscle-firming in this experiment may also be related to an increase in self-control, suggesting embodied cognition can play a role in self-regulation.
Another set of studies was conducted by Shalev , indicating that exposure to physical or conceptual thirst or dryness-related cues influence perceived energy and reduce self-regulation. In Study 1, participants primed with dryness-related concepts reported greater physical thirst and tiredness and lower subjective vitality. In Study 2, participants who were physically thirsty were less persistent in investing effort in an unsolvable anagram task.
In Study 3, images of arid land influenced time preference regarding when to begin preparation to make a monetary investment. Finally, in Studies 4a and 4b, exposure to the names of dryness-related products influenced impressions of the vitality of a target person. Some suggest that the embodied mind serves self-regulatory processes by combining movement and cognition to reach a goal.
Some judgments, such as the emotion of a face, are detected more quickly when a participant mimics the facial expression that is being evaluated. Goal-relevant actions may be encouraged by embodied cognition, as evidenced by the automated approach and avoidance of certain environmental cues.
If one moves in a way previously associated with danger, the body may require a greater level of information processing than if the body moves in a way associated with a benign situation. Some social psychologists examined embodied cognition and hypothesized that embodied cognition would be supported by embodied rapport. There is a significant correlation between self-disclosure and positive emotions towards the other participant.
Embodied cognition may also be defined from the perspective of evolutionary psychologists. The evolutionary perspective cites language, both spoken and written, as types of embodied cognition. Technical aspects of written language, such as italics , all caps , and emoticons promote an inner voice and thereby a sense of feeling rather than thinking about a written message. George Lakoff and his collaborators have developed several lines of evidence that suggest that people use their understanding of familiar physical objects, actions and situations such as containers, spaces, trajectories to understand other more complex domains such as mathematics, relationships or death.
Lakoff argues that all cognition is based on knowledge that comes from the body and that other domains are mapped onto our embodied knowledge using a combination of conceptual metaphor , image schema and prototypes. Lakoff and Mark Johnson  showed that humans use metaphor ubiquitously and that metaphors operate at a conceptual level i.
Lakoff and his collaborators have collected thousands of examples of conceptual metaphors in many domains. It is used in such expression as: "we arrived at a crossroads," "we parted ways", "we hit the rocks" as in a sea journey , "she's in the driver's seat", or, simply, "we're together". In cases like these, something complex a love affair is described in terms of something that can be done with a body travel through space. Prototypes are "typical" members of a category, e. The role of prototypes in human cognition was first identified and studied by Eleanor Rosch in the s.
She also identified basic level categories :  categories that have prototypes that are easily visualized such as a chair and are associated with basic physical motions such as "sitting". Prototypes of basic level categories are used to reason about more general categories. Prototype theory has been used to explain human performance on many different cognitive tasks and in a large variety of domains. George Lakoff argues that prototype theory shows that the categories that people use are based on our experience of having a body and have no resemblance to logical classes or types.
For Lakoff, this shows that traditional objectivist accounts of truth cannot be correct. A classic argument against embodiment in its strict form is based on abstract meaning. So might it be necessary, after all, to place abstract semantics in an amodal meaning system? A remarkable observation has recently been offered that may be of the essence in this context: abstract terms show an over-proportionally strong tendency to be semantically linked to knowledge about emotions.
If abstract emotion words indeed receive their meaning through grounding in emotion it is of crucial relevance   Therefore, the link between an abstract emotion word and its abstract concept is via manifestation of the latter in prototypical actions. The child learns an abstract emotion word such as 'joy' because it shows JOY-expressing action schemas, which language-teaching adults use as criteria for correct application of the abstract emotion word    Thus, the manifestation of emotions in actions becomes the crucial link between word use and internal state, and hence between sign and meaning.
Only after a stock of abstract emotion words has been grounded in emotion-expressing action can further emotion terms be learnt from context. The experience of AI research provides another line of evidence supporting the embodied mind thesis. In the early history of AI successes in programming high-level reasoning tasks such as chess-playing led to an unfounded optimism that all AI problems would be relatively quickly solved.
These programs simulated intelligence using logic and high-level abstract symbols an approach called Good old-fashioned AI. This "disembodied" approach ran into serious difficulties in the s and 80s, as researchers discovered that abstract, disembodied reasoning was highly inefficient and could not achieve human-levels of competence on many simple tasks. Many AI researchers began to doubt that high level symbolic reasoning could ever perform well enough to solve simple problems.
Rodney Brooks argued in the mids that these symbolic approaches were failing because researchers did not appreciate the importance of sensorimotor skills to intelligence in general, and applied these principals to robotics an approach he called " Nouvelle AI ". Another successful new direction was neural networks —programs based on the actual structures within human bodies that gave rise to intelligence and learning.
In the 90s, statistical AI achieved high levels of success in industry without using any symbolic reasoning, but instead using probabilistic techniques to make "guesses" and improve them incrementally. This process is similar to the way human beings are able to make fast, intuitive choices without stopping to reason symbolically. Moravec's paradox is the discovery by artificial intelligence and robotics researchers that, contrary to traditional assumptions, high-level reasoning requires very little computation, but low-level sensorimotor skills require enormous computational resources.
The principle was articulated by Hans Moravec whence the name and others in the s. Encoded in the large, highly evolved sensory and motor portions of the human brain is a billion years of experience about the nature of the world and how to survive in it.