Why did people struggle with doing all of their shopping online during lockdown? The EC (Embodied Cognition) thesis suggests that the intersect between mind-behaviour is not merely an abstract but an ecological one. Actually standing in a shopping aisle triggers all sorts of rich sensory and perceptual datum that allows us to organise information better, connect with the “ground” of our environment, and experience a relational understanding of our lived world — Something missing from the “browse categories” and “add to cart” paradigm we were all forced into recently!
The evolution of technology and Government lockdowns the past few years have also shown us that we can transfer a lot of tasks to the virtual world. We might pose: Why does it feel more pleasurable to pick up an ink pen, to write a letter, and to lodge it, than to script an email and click on “Send”. All of these actions in the Lived World cannot simply be substituted to the virtual space without consequences on mental capacity, social embeddedness, and holistic understanding as we sometimes seem to believe they can!
Almost ironically, the EC lab (alongside) facilitates creative decision-making on how various objects and tools can be applied for learning and development. Yet, while the demo shows potential pathways for cognitive development at the abstract level, we still must actually embody and act out these activities to most benefit – capturing them in the embodied learning space, rather than dis-embodying our conceptions of them…
I get a lot of enquiries from prospective PhD students. In the embedded approach students:
Due to personal circumstances I’m unable to serve as primary supervisor of projects in Australia at the moment; however I work closely with academics at 5 of the 9 major universities in Victoria and am often involved in adjunct, supportive, or auxiliary role in supervision. As I am often immune from the political hierarchies of the research centres at these places, students have often appreciated this level of support from a traditional ‘liberal arts’ approach of knowledge pursuit that my mentorship embodies.