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Designing for Embodied Being-in-the-World: Two Cases, Seven Principles and One Framework

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How may we design coherent, physical-digital hybrid artifacts as meaningful, mediating elements in a persons' embodied 'Being-in-the-World? We explore this question through two cases, one of designing for a person with autism spectrum disorder and one for people with dementia. We reflected in an iterative way on how the designs evolved, and on how our theoretical lens, grounded in embodied theory, helped to shape the designs. In the final round of reflection, we compared both case studies, looking for overall commonalities, which formed the basis for the resulting design framework that we introduce in this paper. The framework consists of seven principles, of which three support embodied activity in the here-and-now, three support developmental processes over a longer timescale , and finally the idea of a reflective process to connect them.
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Designing for Embodied Being-in-the-World:
Two Cases, Seven Principles and One Framework
Jelle van Dijk
University of Twente
Enschede, Netherlands
jelle.vandijk@utwente.nl
Caroline Hummels
Eindhoven University of Technology,
Eindhoven, Netherlands
c.c.m.hummels@tue.nl
ABSTRACT
How may we design coherent, physical-digital hybrid
artifacts as meaningful, mediating elements in a persons’
embodied ‘Being-in-the-World? We explore this question
through two cases, one of designing for a person with autism
spectrum disorder and one for people with dementia. We
reflected in an iterative way on how the designs evolved, and
on how our theoretical lens, grounded in embodied theory,
helped to shape the designs. In the final round of reflection,
we compared both case studies, looking for overall
commonalities, which formed the basis for the resulting
design framework that we introduce in this paper. The
framework consists of seven principles, of which three
support embodied activity in the here-and-now, three support
developmental processes over a longer time-scale, and
finally the idea of a reflective process to connect them.
Author Keywords
Embodied Being-in-the-World; assistive technology;
empowerment; tangible interaction; ubiquitous computing
ACM Classification Keywords
H.5.2. Information interfaces and presentation (e.g., HCI):
Theory & Methods; K.4.2. Computers and society: Assistive
technologies for persons with disabilities
INTRODUCTION
Over the past years we have explored the value of Embodied
theories for design [16], with embodied cognition [10, 52],
ecological psychology [24], phenomenology [43, 19, 55],
situated cognition [53, 25, 47] and pragmatism as our main
sources [15, 49]. Especially concerning ‘physical-digital
hybrids’, as e.g. in Tangible Interaction, Augmented Reality,
Ubiquitous- and Wearable computing, we see merit in taking
an Embodied approach (and with us [18; 37, 54, 41]).
Physical-digital hybrids (hereafter: ‘hybrids’) by nature
invite a rethinking of the traditional distinction between
‘digital’ and ‘physical’. Such rethinking may benefit from
grounding in appropriate theory. Embodied theories may
help designers in understanding how in the concrete
interaction between a person and a technological artifact, the
‘material’ and ‘immaterial’ aspect are really part of one
‘lived’ experience.
In this paper we ask what it concretely means to design
hybrids that cater such integrated experiences, and how to
actually go about it in practice. Building on [16], and the
design principles in [34], and by reflecting on two new case
studies, we now offer a coherent design framework for
designing hybrid interactive artifacts to become meaningful,
mediating elements in what phenomenologists call our
Embodied Being-in-the-World [19;16].
BEYOND CARTESIAN SPLITS
Our proposal concerns a qualitatively different role for
hybrids, one that goes beyond more conventional forms of
tangible- and embodied interaction. In particular, we are not
just proposing to design ‘embodied’ or ‘tangible’ interfaces
to, for example, digital personal applications, or to digital
social- or communication applications. Neither is our take on
embodiment to be understood as designing technologies in
support of the physical body, such as for example a
responsive leg-prosthesis. And neither do we mean
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3024969.3025007
Figure 1. Opening up traditional Cartesian splits reveals a
design space focused on ‘Embodied Being-in-the-World’
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47
intelligent physical environments that respond to our
physical bodies’ location or movements (e.g. the room that
automatically plays your favorite song when entering it).
Instead, the perspective we promote aims to overcome two,
strongly related, lingering ‘Cartesian’ splits: 1) the
separation of ‘immaterial’ from ‘material’ (c.f. the mind-
body problem in philosophy [43, 19, 52]); and 2) the
distinction between an (inner) person and an (outside) world
(c.f. phenomenology’s critique of the subject-object
distinction in science [43])1. We plotted these splits as axes
in Figure 1 resulting in a conceptual space with four
quadrants. By and large, the quadrants represent the four
kinds of technology mentioned earlier: personal digital
applications in the top-left, social communication
applications in the top-right, physical body support in the
bottom-left, and intelligent spaces in the bottom-right.
The bulk of interactive technology today can be placed in one
of these four quadrants, or, alternatively, a device may be
easily split up into component parts that each occupy a
quadrant. However, there are many (especially classical)
tools and artifacts that seem to question this Cartesian frame.
For example, the hammer [29] and the blind man’s cane [43]
have famously been used to argue against a strict separation
between person and world, or between body and mind: the
artifact is both an extension of the body as well as an object
in the world, and through skillful, bodily interactions with
artifacts, a world of meaning opens up for us in experience
[43]. Or consider a family table. A physical platform to carry
objects, but also an object mediating social coordination
between people (see [23]). It makes no sense to split the table
into its ‘physical’ or ‘social’ aspect: it is both, and the way in
which the table supports physically is inherently tied into the
way in which it mediates socially [25]. There are many
examples challenging the Cartesian splits..Is our car a
‘space’ that we occupy, or our ‘extended body’? Is a
whiteboard a place to express individual thoughts, or a
platform for collaborative sensemaking? Is a roundabout an
object constraining physical movement, or a social norm that
actors respond to?
The TEI community has contributed both theoretically and
practically to developing alternatives to the strict separation
of the physical and digital [35, 33, 18, 3, 30, 54, 37, 22, 41].
In this sense we may see TEI as being critical of traditional
Cartesian intuitions in HCI [22, 18]. Several researchers are
developing design frameworks based on embodied
interaction, all with their own specific focus, such as
collaboration [32, 33] or somaesthetic design [31]. In
addition to all this work, we see the necessity to develop a
framework for hybrids that dives more deeply into the
consequences of radically rejecting the Cartesian split. This
is our response toclassic tangible interaction where the
purpose of physical artifacts (‘tangibles’) is to represent
1 Actually these splits are often taken together as ‘The Cartesian split’. We
make no strong claims on whether it is better to talk about one or two splits;
the purpose of the sketch in Figure 1 is to provide a background against
digital information [35, 3], which theoretically means
bridging the Cartesian split, rather than actually rejecting it.
In Figure 1 we illustrate our approach by ‘opening up’ the
Cartesian splits to reveal a new design space in its center,
aimed explicitly and univocally at designing for a person’s
Embodied Being-in-the-World. As we will show in detail
through analysis of two design cases, the center space
contains three core aspects: Embodied skills [24], socially
situated coordination [53] and our embedding in a Lifeworld
[1]. Through ongoing reflective practice [49] these aspects
develop into our personal identity, our social relations, and
gradually transform our lifeworlds (Figure 4). Hybrid
technologies allow for designing artifacts that support one or
more of these core aspects, in effect supporting a person’s
Embodied Being-in-the-World.
DESIGNING FOR EMBODIED WELL-BEING
The theoretical reflections that have led to the framework are
grounded in two design case studies, to which we turn now.
In recent years we have sought design challenges that would
in a strong and critical sense ask us to scrutinize in detail
what lies in the embodied design space occupying the center
of figure 1. In this paper, we do so by reflecting on two
design cases, aimed at designing technology supporting
everyday, routine activities of people with Autism Spectrum
Disorder (Case 1) and people with Dementia (Case 2). The
context and specific challenges in these projects helped us to
reflect on how the theory could guide the design process and
the designs. One driving question in both projects was how
to respect the lives and personally developed ways of doing
of the people involved, knowing that they cannot manage
without some form of care. The question “How to design
technological assistance without thereby compromising the
identity and authenticity of the person?” helped us to get grip
on what it means to design for someone’s ‘being’. It raised
further questions, e.g.: What could interactive technology be
for people that slowly but certainly loose their cognitive and
motor skills, or for people that have a completely different
understanding of the world and their social interactions?
What do we mean with ‘empowerment’ and ‘self-
management’? What could our world look like if autism was
seen as simply another way of being in the world and not as
a disorder? What could our world look like if we would
design for the extreme, e.g. if we all would have dementia or
we would see dementia as a blessing? Consequently, we
might not focus on steering our designs towards remedy,
compensation, adjustment or delay of progression of
cognitive and motor impairments as is often done in
interactive technology design [42; 26; 51; 38; 40], but on
respecting everyone’s unique embodied being in the world.
Could designing for ‘Embodied-being-in-the-World’ (the
center of Figure 1) offer a new perspective for not only these
two target groups, but in the end for all of us? So, can the
which we can introduce our alternative as one rejecting all such strict
separations between mind, body, social world and physical world.
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48
lessons learned from these challenging cases, be applied to
our everyday HCI artifacts?
The aim in both cases is to empower people in living their
own everyday lives, that is, to design artifacts that enable
people to be most fully themselves in their own familiar
world. The first case focuses on independent living in the
home environment and the second case focusing on living
respectfully and situated towards and in a care home.
CASE STUDY CONTEXT AND APPROACH
In each of the case studies we reflected in iterative fashion
on the way the design evolved, how our embodied theoretical
lens helped to shape this evolution, and how, in turn, the
practicalities of the design challenge and context critically
‘talked back’ [49] to the theory, demanding us to be ever
more precise about the theory’s contribution in making
concrete design decisions. All levels of design were
considered: from discussions about overall function and
purpose all the way to the detailed shaping of interaction
design and form-giving. Taken together, our cases explore
the embodied design space both in-depth, iterating one
specific design concept (MyDayLight, see below), as well as
more broadly, by developing a collection of different designs
(Sensuous Dementia, see below). In the final reflections we
compared the two case studies by looking for overall
commonalities, which formed the basis for the resulting
design framework as presented below. But let us first
introduce the two case studies.
CASE 1: DAILY ROUTINES AND AUTISM SPECTRUM
DISORDER
Over the course of two years, in four main projects (each
resulting in experienceable prototypes), 24 bachelor students
and 3 master students designed for- and with Max (not his
real name), a 31 year-old high functioning person with
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD[27]), who lives in an
independent living facility. All projects included interviews,
observation, co-design activities and prototype evaluations
with Max and three of his professional caretakers.
The supported living facility has the aim to help Max manage
his own life to the greatest extent possible. This is
challenging mostly when Max is free to make is own plans
(e.g. on a day off). Max is easily distracted by recurring
worries [7] or becomes preoccupied with ‘irrelevant’ details
[2]. Planned tasks remain unfinished, leading to frustration
and a sense of personal failure. Unfinished business in his
apartment itself may be a source of new distractions, creating
a feedback loop where the chaos in his head becomes
reflected in the chaos in his apartment and vice versa. With
Max and his caregivers, we developed MyDayLight: a
ubiquitous, interactive light system that helps in structuring
daily activities (Figure 2). It works as follows. If Max wants
to do the dishes each day at 11AM, he plans this task in a
calendar on a tablet and assigns it to a tangible ‘Highlight’
(for example, one that Max placed in the kitchen). At 11AM,
the kitchen Highlight will light up. This cues Max’s attention
to the kitchen, prompting him to do the dishes. Once the time
is up, the Highlight fades out. With each planned task,
another light-cue in an associated physical location lights up.
Max is free to place Highlights where he wants, creating a
visual web ‘highlighting’ task-relevant areas in his
apartment. By turning a Highlight, where turn-right means ‘I
am feeling ok” and turn-left means “I am not feeling ok”, a
visual pattern emerges in the Reflector overview (Figure 2)
to help Max and his caregiver to reflect on the day, learn, and
make new plans.
CASE 2: DAILY ROUTINES AND DEMENTIA
In the first phase (2,5 months) of this 3-year Transformative
Homes for Sensuous Dementia project, 19 ID Master
students under guidance of 10 creative experts developed 4
experienceable prototypes of situations in a transformative
home with people with dementia and their (formal and
informal) caregivers (Figure 3). Designs were iteratively
developed and evaluated after 8 weeks during an exhibition
with 50 external stakeholders (care institutions, insurance
companies, home automation industry, design firms,
citizens). The designs approach dementia from the
experience in the here and now, exploring the uncultivated
Figure 3. Sensuous Dementia: For the time being (upper
left), The Richness of Tea (upper right), Warm Place (lower
left) and Orchestra of Senses (lower right)
Figure 2. MYDAYLIGHT (fourth prototype), including the
Highlight and the Reflector overview
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space of using people’s sensorial skills to empower them,
given that cognitive and motor skills appear to be
deteriorating over time [8, 44, 56]. The approach ran
opposite to many technologies designed for dementia, as we
did not try to revive memory and reminiscence, or delay
deterioration of cognitive skills [42, 26, 51].
Most of the designs focus on the care home, but the first
concept can also be used in a regular home. The four
concepts were prototyped for experience, though sometimes
simplified for technical reasons. They are (see Figure 3):
1) For the Time Being: An integrated “clock” in the house
that does not tell time, but shows/offers valuable
objects via a spotlight, inviting to do the related
activities at a specific time.
2) The Richness of Tea: A new tea ritual where caregivers
and people with dementia enjoy making tea together
and take time for each other. The orientation of the
spotlight and of the rotating display can be adjusted
according to the stage of the tea ritual.
3) Warm Place: A playful way to use heating spots in the
care home, i.e. an interactive heat lamp that adjusts its
heights in relation the place of ones hands, and a warm
tactile rice-box, to create sensory moments of comfort
in interaction with others.
4) Orchestra of Senses: a set of playful instruments that
use smell, touch, sight and sound to raise the appetite,
forming an embodied activity bridging to actual dinner.
DESIGNING FOR EMBODIED-BEING-IN-THE-WORLD: A
FRAMEWORK
The main insights from the two projects formed the basis for
our design framework, illustrated in figure 4. We reflected
both on the design process itself, as on the use evaluations.
For MyDayLight, use evaluations are primarily based on an
in-depth, one week long ethnographic study with a fully
working prototype (the third version) placed in Max’ home,
followed by daily visits with situated interviews,
observations of all daily client-caregiver meetings, and a
final group interview with Max, his parents, and one
caregiver. Insights from the Sensuous Dementia projects are
based on the qualitative feedback from the 50 stakeholders
present at the interactive exhibition, and on 5 user tests done
in care homes with the Richness of Tea.
We distinguish between how artifacts support embodied
activity in the here-and-now, and how they may spur a
developmental process over a longer time-scale. While we
present the framework as a list of separate principles, we
emphasize that these are strongly interrelated: e.g., to engage
in social coordination is part of our skillful dealing with the
world, and skillful dealing is always already socially
situated. The principles we list here are meant to be
integrated through design into a complete system in context,
that will give rise to a unified, lived experience.
Embodied Interactions in the here-and-now
We first discuss embodied interaction in the here-and-now:
1. Sustaining Skills
Skillful action, mediated by the use of tools, is something we
do with our whole body. Tools do not only produce a desired
‘output’ behavior – the ultimate effect emerges from the way
a person skillfully uses the tool. Skill is ‘know-how’ it is
acting intelligently, though in an embodied way, enabling a
person to deal successfully with circumstances, without a
detached ‘cognitive’ phase of observing, interpreting,
internal processing and action-planning. In acting skillfully
there is no separation, nor a linear ordering, of action and
perception: they unfold in parallel and become coupled, and
the tool functions as a binding element this coupling process
[19].
Our designs contain aspects of tools supporting skills, i.e.,
mediating and sustaining action-perception couplings. For
example MyDayLight does not provide ‘information
messages’ to the user that need to be interpreted in order to
decide what to do. Instead, the light cues, situated in a
context, help the user to attend to relevant aspects of that
context, upon which one ‘sees what needs to be done’. The
design challenge became to find how technology would
mediate in the evolution of a person’s skill in utilizing the
familiar structure ones’ apartment in order to guide
appropriate action. The third prototype used for testing
contained a regular Google Calendar for setting time and day
for each lamp. However Max experienced difficulties in
setting the exact time for each task: at various moments he
refused to set a task, because, in his words, he didn’t know
for sure that he would actually want to do that task at that
precise time, the next day. Google Calendar actually biased
the interaction again towards thinking of the device as a tool
for precise planning of future events, rather than as setting a
rough-and-ready cue that would guide, but not specify, the
actual time and manner in which the task would be done.
For the Time Being offers personally relevant tools needed
to maintain certain skills and interests. It is both the offering
of the tool as a reminder of the activity, as well as the way of
offering the tool that addresses action-perception loop. So
instead of reminding a person to read a book or do her
embroidery via a calendar, time sheet or verbally, For the
Figure 4. A design framework:
Designing for Embodied Being-in-the-World
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50
Time Being offers the tools directly to the person by putting
them into the spot light. For the Time Being uses the
affordances of the tools and offers the activity itself.
2. Scaffolding Social Coordination
Whatever we do, we do it against the background of having
to negotiate our own position over and against other human
beings in our social world, and our actions, decisions and the
way we make sense of things in action is socially
contextualized [39, 53, 25]. The manipulation of physical
objects (which relates to skills in 1.), plays a crucial part in
this ongoing ‘social coordination’. People use the public
world of objects and artifacts, including their own physical
bodies, as scaffolds [13] for participatory sensemaking [36].
The Richness of Tea includes a table full of scaffolds for
making and drinking tea. The lamp in the middle can be
operated by the host (caregiver, family member, …) and
successively highlights the four activities related to the ritual
(exploring and selecting the ingredients; crushing and
mixing the tea leaves; playing with and selecting sugar;
pouring water and drinking the tea). By turning the display,
the person with dementia and the host go through the journey
of making and drinking tea, while enjoying the richness of
the sensorial sensations of interacting with the ingredients.
The design and the ritual create a physical and social place
for taking time for each other, as the caregivers indicated
during the 5 user tests performed in care homes. Currently,
there is place nor time in care homes to evoke attentive,
empathic relaxation with inhabitants. So, the scaffolds are
used in the moment to make meaning together.
We observed how Max and his caregivers were together
discussing how to program the lamp as part of their regular
daily meeting. We learned that these talks were not purely
instrumental to programming the lamp but also functioned to
share mutual perspectives on ‘what would be the right thing
to do’ – which in effect meant a process of bringing together
Max’s first-person experience, and the caregivers’
professional, third-person perspective, on Max and his ASD
challenges. This is why we reframed the graphical user
interface on the tablet to be not just a representation of task
plans – but a REFLECTOR instead: a shared space for a
person with ASD and his caregiver, to look at, point at, refer
to, in order to collaboratively make sense of the current state
of affairs, and how to improve it.
Whenever we engage in action-perception cycles with a
physical object, this object is always already socially
situated. So, when a person sees a MyDayLight light
becoming active in the kitchen, he may feel the need to do
the dishes, but this need always includes some sense of what
it means to do those dishes in relation to others, for example
in relation to the care-giver with which we had discussed the
plan to do the dishes the day before. So the scaffolds are used
for looking back at moments of social interaction.
When looking at For the Time Being, the rotating platform
/cabinet offers an opportunity for the family or caregivers to
suggest activities. So, social coordination between the care-
taker and (informal) care-giver is facilitated by the scaffolds
placed at the platform. These activities can be activities for
the person with dementia, but also for social activities, e.g.
placing cups for drinking tea together, placing a book for
reading a story for the person with dementia, or placing the
telephone to make a phone call with friends or family
members. So, the scaffolds are used for anticipating social
interaction.
3. Embedding in the Lifeworld
The physical- as well as social world that people inhabit we
call the ‘lifeworld’ [50, 1]. People do not act in the void, they
do so against a meaningful background of things and people
that forms a ‘context-of-practice’ [39]. Because lifeworlds
co-evolve with our skills and routines, the things in our
lifeworlds are always already meaningful to us. Thus, within
the lifeworld things pop up as relevant to our current activity,
and by acting in the world we leave traces in the world that
we may later encounter and think with.
Orchestra of Senses is developed for people with dementia
living in care homes. They often get ready-made food
presented in front of them at a fixed time slot, but which
might not be aligned with their appetite or expectations, since
their connection with their lifeworld is often distorted.
Moreover, there is often no perceivable preparation phase;
by taking away the process of cooking, dementia patients
tend to forget to eat and they tend to lose their appetite [28].
Orchestra of Senses tries to restore this relation by offering a
ritual to recreate a connection with their dinner. By playing
with the set of sensorial instruments their olfactible, haptic,
visual and auditory senses are triggered towards dining, thus
aiming to raise their appetite and restoring part of the
relationship with their lifeworld.
In MyDayLight the lamps by themselves convey little
information instead what they do is to highlight the
particular organization of already meaningful things in the
users’ own apartment. These things are meaningful cues
because the environment has developed alongside with the
skills, routines and habits of the person: this is his
environment. In case of a person with ASD (and to some
extent for all of us), the cues we perceive do do not always
coincide with what we had rationally planned to do. In this
case a person becomes distracted and defocused. Instead of
‘overruling’ bottom up triggers by providing explicit
notifications on a screen, MyDayLight functions as a (self-
developed) situated filter, drawing attention to those aspects
in the user’s own lifeworld that help rather than confuse.
Long-term developments
The second set of principles that make up our framework
deals with long-term effects of interacting with physical-
digital hybrids in embodied ways. While the principles
below are grounded in theoretical reflections on the design
evolution, they are in some sense more speculative, as
working prototypes have not been tested for longer than one
week, and the transformative effects we propose would
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51
typically take weeks, months, or even years to evolve, as the
artifacts are gradually appropriated within a person’s daily
routines and take up position within the larger physical- and
social setting that makes up the lifeworld.
4. Forming and expressing identity
Skills, tools, and the lifeworld relate to identity. Exercising
ones’ skills, being reliant on ones’ tools, in ones’ familiar
context, in a way means expressing who one is. Developing
ones’ skills, building social relations and growing a lifeworld
goes hand in hand with forming an identity.[19]
Riemer and Johnston [46], conclude that much IT poses a
threat to identity because it lacks the quality of what
Heidegger [29] calls ‘equipment’:
“Use of equipment is at the heart of our human way of being,
… and constitutive of self … [I]ndividuals express their …
identities through the equipment they use. Replacing this
equipment might in the worst case equate to tearing apart
one’s (professional) lifeworld, one’s existence, which was
built on the basis of what one does and therefore how (in
what way) one ‘is’” [46, p.10.]
Likewise, Lave [39] argues how becoming ‘knowledgeably
skillful’ is part of developing an identity as a member of a
community [39]. This means for assistive technologies at
least that the user should experience using an assistive tool
as ‘something I do with the tool’, which then also means a
way to ‘express myself’, rather than ‘something the tool does
for me’ [17]. This means also to not replace existing routines
and ‘ways of being’ with technologies based on externally
defined, normative accounts of ‘how things should be done’
[6, 53]. In the many conversations we had with Max, using
‘his’ lamp clearly seemed to help him take up a more
autonomous position regarding his own life – managing tasks
became something that he was doing, rather than being a
response to the caregiver’s demands.
The change or loss of identity for people with dementia is
still under debate, since the topic is not sufficiently explored
[9] and/or there is no agreement on the process of sense of
identity, since some researchers claim a disintegration of the
self as the disease progresses [e.g. 14], other researchers
claim that the sense of self persists [e.g. 21], and others
indicate their might be two sides of sense of identity: one
quite stable and the other varying over time and with
experience. [20]. When taking Dreyfus’ stance that
‘exercising ones’ skills becomes the expression of who one
‘is’ [19], it implies that the sense of self will be effected,
especially since their cognitive and motor skills are
deteriorating over time [8, 44, 56].
One of the people with dementia that participated in our
study experienced a kind of sense of identity loss, since he
couldn’t remember to go cycling which was one of his most
important hobbies; he was a cyclist and by not cycling he
(sometimes) felt a great loss. Others were very attached to
certain objects in their environment since they allowed them
to do certain valuable activities and use their skills.
For the Time Being tried to address this sense of identity in
two ways. Firstly, by offering valuable objects over the day
that invite to keep using, maintaining or even developing
specific skills, and thus being invited regularly to express
who one is through one’s skills. Secondly, For the time being
can also be used to deal with the changes of skills over time,
especially during the earlier phases of dementia. For the
Time Being invites people with dementia in the early phases
to create rituals when they still have most of their skills for
the time that their skills will be challenged or deteriorate.
Which skills are important for them, their life, their identity,
and how would they like to incorporate them in their
everyday living through For the Time Being? This way, it
also makes For the Time Being a tool for reflection (see
principle 7).
5. Social relationships
When people socially coordinate their activities in situ, this
creates roles people take within communities of practice on
the long run [39].
In MyDayLight the different roles that the person with ASD,
caretaker and parents played were explicitly discussed. One
of the aims of the project was to help, through the device,
transform existing roles to ones in which people with ASD
would be more autonomous in their own lives and caretakers
would ‘carefully coach’ rather than ‘take care of things’.
Max actually used the system mostly to plan meetings with
other people and less for daily chores. He anticipated on
social implications of programming the lamp, which gave
him some sense of control over the future event. For example
he’d say: “For Sonja I choose a nice violet color for the
couch-lamp, so I’ll put her in a beautiful light when she sits
there tomorrow’.
Next to the roles of people, we also looked at social
relationships and attachments. Attachment may be radically
embodied, and social baseline theory [45, 4] might support
this premise. [5] Attachment in an embodied context can be
seen through the lens of affordances as relations, in this case
between two living bodies. For example, attachment can
emerge and be strengthened by a person’s body to provide
support (e.g., softness, body heat and body trunk one can
cling to) and his/her capacity to elicit the type of support
needed by someone else (e.g., eliciting soft caresses and
huddling or holding behaviors) [12]. Moreover, literature
shows that one’s health correlates with the intensity of
empathy and helpfulness of the social network a person is
embedded in [5]. Warm Place specifically focuses on jointly
playing with the installations while stimulating body heat
through the warmness of the rice and the lamp. The Richness
of Tea targeted at empathy and helpfulness by affording
through the tea ritual to take time for each other. Finally, For
the Time Being aimed at using both physical and social
affordances to trigger empathy and helpfulness. The family
and caregivers can suggest activities through the objects,
they can put valuable objects and potential events in the
spotlight, and they can do the activities together with the
Expanding Foundations
TEI 2017, March 20–23, 2017, Yokohama, Japan
52
person with dementia. While the disease is advancing, this
design aims at supporting attachment by keep on doing
things together, especially when verbal communication is
getting more troublesome.
6. Transforming the Lifeworld
In 3. we dis cussed how the lifeworld forms an active element
in the way people perceive and act in the world. This
lifeworld however itself changes as people gradually
reconfigure the space they inhabit [6]. At this point we have
to speculate about actual long-term outcomes. Over time,
using MyDayLight the user may decide now and then to put
lights in different locations, trying out, improvising, and
deciding to plan new tasks, at various moments in time, up
to the point the system works well with the given
configuration of the apartment. In a future study, next to
investigating where people put their lamps, we plan to
investigate what names users give to the lamps, and how
many lamps they feel they need in order to manage an
activity, or set of activities. While gradually configuring the
system, other elements in the apartment (furniture, tools,
etc.) may also be replaced to have them ‘work better’ with
the lamps (e.g. put everything that belongs to one task in the
same location, [1]). The technology does not prescribe such
reconfigurations nor does it create a completely new,
artificial environment next to the apartment itself (as in a
virtual management tool on a screen). Rather, it would
catalyze a process by which a person gradually adapts his
own space to whatever works best for him.
Considering dementia a gradual adaptation of the lifeworld
is a necessity, as the person in question gradually changes in
her capabilities due to the disease. The user test of The
Richness of Tea revealed that the ritual and the scaffolds
need to be adjusted over time. Whereas in the earlier phases
of dementia a variety of scaffolds can stimulate sensorial
pleasure and social connectedness, in the later phases it
might cause confusion and dangerous behavior (e.g. burning
by touching a heated tea pot, or getting confused due to too
much visual stimulation), thus the table should offer less
and/or different scaffolds in a later phase. Moreover,
although not implemented yet, The Richness of Tea could
register the interaction during a tea ritual and visualize the
changes in interaction over a longer period of time in order
to enable the host to adjust the ritual over time. The table
could even suggest alterations regarding time or light focus
based on the patterns of change.
7. Reflecting in- and on action
Finally, as the overall process by which existing couplings,
between people and tools (skills), between people (social
relations) and between people and the overall setting
(lifeworlds) change, we offer the process of reflection as
grounded in action. This basically pragmatist, Schönean-
Deweyan process is to be contrasted with a rational, theory-
based approach in which one first thinks about what should
ideally be the right sort of behavior, then executes it, and then
afterwards evaluates whether the activities conformed to the
model or not and, if not, what should be done about it. In
contrast, reflective practice means that one at times
temporarily steps back from an essentially ongoing activity,
one takes a distanced perspective, one looks at what is there
to be seen (which is not something one was looking for based
on some previous idea) and this looking with a distance may
then evolve into a ‘new way of looking at things’, which
subsequently invites new sorts of actions (which may help to
overcome the hurdles that emerged from the old way of
looking).
In MyDayLight the process of reflection on action was quite
explicitly implemented by creating a ‘reflector’ interface that
should help caretaker and person with ASD to reflect on the
day and on that basis discuss future actions. This design
move itself instantiated a reframing of the original idea of the
tablet interface as a calendar in which to plan future actions
as just one aspect of a larger process that is focused on
reflection: on taking a step back and looking at how things
are going. From our user evaluations it became apparent that
in this reflection the exact time at which a task was executed,
and its duration, are actually much less important than is the
mood experienced during execution of tasks. In other words,
in self-management may be more important to focus on how
one feels, than on whether one is actually performing
according to plan. This is why in the final prototype we
included the option turning the lamp to the left or right,
thereby indicating a positive or negative mood. This action
itself already invites a ‘mini-moment of reflection’. It also
adds to a gradually emerging visual pattern of colored dots
in the calendar, to be used for looking back on the day later
on.
For the Time Being incorporated reflection on action in a
fairly implicit way. Initially, the platform and objects can
work as a reflection mechanism for caretaker and caregivers,
but over time it slowly but certainly becomes a reflection
mechanism for the caregivers. There is not a separate
visualization to stimulate reflection on action as was
designed for MyDayLight, but the reflection goes initially
through the change of scaffolds over time: the amount and
kinds of objects that change. The platform could register
what has been used and in which way, and leave traces over
time on the platform when put in reflection mode.
DISCUSSION
A framework for reframing
Working from an Embodied perspective means a repeated
revisiting of implicit ‘mainstream’ assumptions, at various
levels of detail, each time again reframing the design
challenge. For example, in MyDayLight, we initially
considered informing the user on what to do, e.g. using icons
in the tablet interface, text-messages on the lamps, and so on.
Taking an embodied perspective however helped us in the
later prototypes to emphasize the users’ own skills, and rely
on the meaning present in the social- and physical context,
instead of predetermining meanings in designed
representations.
Expanding Foundations
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53
A similar shift happened in the Sensuous Dementia project
in hindsight, when evaluating with users during the
exhibition. For example, the students designing For the Time
Being did not initially distinguish between actual use objects
and placeholder/representations of such objects. A mini chair
(a representation) was used as well as a real book and
someone’s embroidery (actual products), while actual use
objects of course have very different immediate affordances
for action than its representations. Objects were also placed
on every “hour” of the platform, which made for a total of
12. At the exhibition it became clear that this configuration
ignored social coordination in actual practices, where
meaning is created based on the pace of the day, the needs
and interest of the person with dementia, relationships and
activities with caregivers etc., having no intrinsic relation to
the structure of a clock face.
One of the reasons for developing this framework is to make
such considerations explicit and open for reflection to
students of design, such that reframing becomes possible.
The aim is to question possible Cartesian presuppositions
and offer an embodied alternative. For example, the
framework would have invited the students to think about
objects and activities that can not be placed on a platform,
such as the bike of the cyclist. In similar fashion the
framework may also help health-care organizations and
professional health-tech designers to becomes sensitive to
alternative mediating roles for assistive technology that fits
a person’s lifeworld and skills and thus may less likely to be
abandoned in practice [11]. For example, it may help health
care organizations to focus less on wanting to ‘control the
situation’, and instead ‘facilitate’ people’s means for
maintaining self-control.
What we mean when we talk about embodiment
The framework we present can be used by designers
exploring ways to connect more deeply and intimately to
people’s situated, embodied practices. However it also
invites to go beyond other known uses of the term
‘embodiment’ in design. Some of these other views have
perhaps been more readily applied in tangible- and embodied
interaction design in the past, as they typically demand a less
radical departure from the Cartesian frame we introduced in
the introduction (Figure 1). Here, we briefly contrast some
of these approaches to our own.
First, our framework has little to do with the superficial
interpretation of ‘embodied’ as meaning just anything
involving physical bodies. Interactive bracelets, -clothes,
even prostheses or implants are not (necessarily) ‘Embodied’
in our interpretation. Consider for example our embedding in
the lifeworld, which deals with the social- and physical
environment much more than with our body.
Second, we move beyond the popular notion of distributed
cognition as well [13,16]. Our framework targets a level of
person-world engagement that comes ‘prior’ to the evolved
practice of creating and using ‘external representations’.
External representations are of course also part of our
embodied practices, and such elements are also part of our
designs. But our framework focuses first and foremost on
supporting skillful couplings and social coordination, which
in fact form the ground upon which something like ‘using
representations’ becomes possible at all [53]. We invite
designers to connect to this deeper level of Embodiment.
Third, the previous point entails we will ignore the use of
bodily metaphors to re-present digital information [3; 35,
16]; or re-presenting in artifacts metaphors of the human
body [48]. All of this may be tremendously important for
designing information representations, but our intention is
not to design information representations: our intention is to
design for Embodied Being-in-the-World, which concerns
skills, social coordination and action-based reflection.
Fourth: neither do we propose to design artifacts that enforce
specific behaviors, by clever use of constraints and
affordances. We carefully design to cater embodied
practices, yet our systems always remain open, because the
artifact must be incorporated, which happens in use. In our
cases, this also meant not to aim at technology taking over
deteriorating cognitive skills of people with dementia, nor to
create technology that would specify or train specific desired
behaviors to people with ASD. An anecdote from the
MyDayLight project serves to illustrates this. When the first
prototype was presented, the caretaker suggested
enthusiastically to Max to take the ‘task-list’ (an existing
paper list to-do list that the caregiver had earlier created for
Max), and ‘program it into the lamp’. ‘Absolutely not’, Max
replied, ‘we are not going to put your task-list into my lamp’.
This reply showed to us that the product, even in this early
design phase, started to help Max to take up a new, more
autonomous position, transforming the social relation.
As a last remark, our framework is not meant to critique other
embodied approaches as being invalid accounts, for
Embodied Theory is itself an umbrella term for many related,
but also often fiercely discussed notions. What we intend to
show with these studies is that there is more to embodiment
than designing tangible metaphors, or to distribute digital
information in a physical space, and that tangible’,
‘wearable’ or ‘ubiquitous’ design does not necessarily mean
a design for Embodied Being-in-the World. Of course, we
are not alone in this initiative; there are several examples of
strong embodied designs at the various TEI conferences. But
we do hope to offer, to those who wish to take this path,
seven concrete principles in one coherent framework, to help
designers appreciate what a strong sense of Embodiment
may offer, and to provide inspiration and guidance during
their design process.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research is supported by SIA-RAAK and the city of
Eindhoven. We gratefully thank Max, all involved students,
Jorge Alves Lino, Ambra Trotto and all coaches involved in
the Sensuous Dementia project, Philadelphia Care
organization, Ordina, Philips and 3TU Design United.
Expanding Foundations
TEI 2017, March 20–23, 2017, Yokohama, Japan
54
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... In the field of human-computer interaction and embodied interaction, sensemaking has garnered attention (see, e.g., [1,25,28,43,45,59,68,71]), and different terms to describe the activity of sensemaking with others have been used: collaborative sensemaking (e.g., [43,59,68]; embodied sensemaking (e.g., [25,52,60,63]; and participatory sensemaking (e.g., [8,10,28]). Many of the aforementioned publications share a significant theoretical overlap in the definition of sensemaking as a situated activity that is achieved by being in (and interacting with) the world [8,63]. ...
... In the field of human-computer interaction and embodied interaction, sensemaking has garnered attention (see, e.g., [1,25,28,43,45,59,68,71]), and different terms to describe the activity of sensemaking with others have been used: collaborative sensemaking (e.g., [43,59,68]; embodied sensemaking (e.g., [25,52,60,63]; and participatory sensemaking (e.g., [8,10,28]). Many of the aforementioned publications share a significant theoretical overlap in the definition of sensemaking as a situated activity that is achieved by being in (and interacting with) the world [8,63]. ...
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Within a department of Industrial Design innovation is like the floor we walk on or the air we breathe. Designers are generally driven to create new meaningful propositions. At our department, this innovation-oriented attitude is not only applicable to the things we design and our way of designing, but has also been the basis for our educational approach as of the department’s foundation in 2000. In this chapter, I would like to show you what a Dutch innovative mindset could entail and how my journey at Industrial Design might inspire you to explore and implement your own educational innovations. I will first describe some major shifts in societal and educational paradigms, which form the basis of our work. Then, I’ll describe our own position and approach towards education. I elucidate our stance with four concrete examples of innovative ways of learning: self-directed life-long learning; city-situated learning; embodied ways of learning; and tools to support 21st century skills of children. I’ll conclude this chapter with three questions stimulating you to explore the Dutch innovation mindset even further from the perspective offered in this contribution.
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The Netherlands has an excellent standard of education, from elementary school to university. But our society is changing and our educational systems need to adapt to individual learning pathways, digitalization and a highly dynamic society and job market. This is the reason that the Learning On The Move (LOTM) project started with Summa College, Fontys Hogescholen and the Eindhoven University of Technology as well as local stakeholders and the Eindhoven municipality. Based on our experiences in the LOTM project, we conclude that the need for collaboration and innovation seems stronger than ever. The LOTM project suggests that connected education in Eindhoven still faces challenges in organization, approach and content. The project shows a direction in which we can move, the approach we can take and how to adapt current systems. The LOTM project has developed a iterative, reflective process to explore a new educational approach that combines physical and digital workspaces both inside and outside the regular educational environment. We use (in-)formal, multidisciplinary learning to facilitate students' enrichment of competence development, the engagement of students in societal problems and the creation of civic values. We explore the future potential of a cooperative, (in-)formal educational approach by means of a participatory approach that uses student projects and the creation of tools.
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The new scenarios brought by ubiquitous and pervasive technologies have drawn attention to design considerations towards integrating physical artefacts and digital processes. As for the human element in these scenarios, literature has emphasized individual bodies sensed by or acting with technology as social parties who participate in the environment. In this work, we draw on the enactivism-inspired perspective to cognition, to make explicit the social-physical-digital tripartite articulation into design considerations. The article proposes to clarify the tripartite coupling in the concept we are naming ‘socioenactive’. A case study carried out in the context of an educational workshop in an exploratory museum, with the use of installations designed on the deep time theme, illustrates some aspects of this tripartite relation. Data from the evaluation of the experience by children participating in the workshop, and from observations of intersubjective aspects of the experience made from recorded video, are presented and discussed. Results of the study clarify the main ideas behind an experience we are naming socioenactive, in its intersubjective aspects, and suggest lines to be weaved in design towards (smart) contemporary technology-based environments.
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Background The acquisition of daily living skills is fundamental in the education of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), especially of those with Intellectual Disability (ID), because this can significantly contribute to their autonomy, self-confidence and overall life satisfaction. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of an embodied Digital Technology (DT)-mediated intervention, compared to a Treatment-As-Usual (TAU) intervention, for enhancing two daily living skills: washing dishes and doing laundry. Method Four males of between 25 and 37 years old with ASD and ID participated in the study. The two interventions were based on audio and picture prompting instructional techniques aimed at helping participants to off-load cognitive work onto the environment. The DT-mediated intervention consisted of the use of a tablet connected to a lighting system. The TAU intervention consisted of the use of paper-based pictures and task strips. A reversal single-subject experimental design across participants was conducted in a day centre. Results Data showed that the DT-mediated intervention was more effective than the TAU intervention in reducing the number of educator prompts given to three of the four participants, and for diminishing the number of off-task behaviours showed by all participants during the performance of the activities. Conclusions A novel DT-mediated intervention effectively enhanced participants’ daily living skills. The major novel contribution of this work is to show that the use of a handheld device connected to a lighting system can be an effective method for the interaction and embodiment of people with ASD and ID in a real-world setting.
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Movement-based design is reaching critical mass in HCI, and we can start to identify strategies, similarities and differences in how it is approached. Similarities may include, for example, a strong first person perspective on design, emphasising movement, somatics and aesthetic sensibilities of the designer, as well as starting from the premise that our bodily ways of being in the world are shaped by the ecologies of people, cultural practices and the artefacts we create and use. Different classes of systems are starting to emerge, such as spurring somaesthetic appreciation processes using biofeedback loops or carefully nudging us to interact with our own movements; engaging us in affective loops where the technology takes on a stronger agency, attempting to pull participants into particular experiences; extending on our senses and perception -- even creating new senses through technology; social interactions, engaging us to jointly explore movement or touch; even endowing machines with their own "somatics", exploring our relationship to technology; as well as engaging in larger political issues around the body, such as gender perspectives, or challenging the mind-body divide.
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Taking an embodied perspective, we designed two interactive products to empower people with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder in coping with the challenges of everyday life. Our Research-through-Design combined theory and hands-on co-design, involving clients and professional caretakers. Reflecting on several experienceable prototypes resulted in guiding principles for designing for Embodied Empowerment, all going beyond classical conceptions of Assistive Technology.
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Goal To investigate the relationship between cognitive emotion regulation and anxiety and depression in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Methods One hundred and twenty-one adults with ASD were compared to neurotypical adults, matched on age and gender. Cognitive emotion regulation was measured with the Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (CERQ). Anxiety and depression were measured using the Symptom Check List (SCL-90). Results The ASD group reported more use of the strategy “Other-blame” and less use of “Positive reappraisal” than the control group. A significant relationship was found between cognitive emotion regulation strategies and anxiety and depression in the ASD group. There were no differences found in the strength of the relationship between cognitive emotion regulation and anxiety and depression, except for the relationship between “Catastrophizing” and depression, which was more strongly related in neurotypical adults. Conclusion Adults with ASD do not use less cognitive emotion regulation strategies, but use more “Other-blame” and less “Positive reappraisal”. There was no difference between the ASD group and the neurotypical group regarding the strength of the relationship between the cognitive emotion regulation strategies and anxiety and depression. These results encourage the use of cognitive therapy for depression and anxiety in people with ASD.
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The TEI-community is based on various paradigms. We believe that the community matures by scrutinising these different paradigms and unravelling the consequences for designing for tangible, embedded and embodied interaction. In this paper we explore the consequences and possibilities of phenomenology-inspired embodied theory, and more specifically the concept of embodied sensemaking, i.e. human sensemaking using sensorimotor couplings to support social coordination between people. Based on our theoretical setting, we introduce seven design principles for developing face-to-face embodied sensemaking technology. We show in this paper how we used these principles to develop a mobile design and sensemaking studio for the encounter between two persons to sketch a future at the cross-section of their disciplines. By explaining these principles, we aim to show what embodied theory can bring the TEI-community, and invite others to do the same.
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This article reports on a contextual interview with a retired woman in her eighties about the objects of greatest significance to her in her home. Particular attention is paid to how she has configured the objects for use to suit her bodily needs and interests, and the way in which these objects become habituated into life, places, and social relations over time. It is argued that by understanding these "habituated objects" and how they increase an older person's agency and independence, we might better understand how to design new Internet of Things' technologies that will become habituated and support independence. ARTICLE: I recently visited an 82-­‐year-­‐old woman, Maria, the mother of a good friend whom I have known over the years. This visit got me thinking about tangible and embodied interaction in a different way: from the perspective of the everyday objects that inhabit and augment our lives and how they support independence and agency as we age. Maria is partially sighted and still getting used to living with an artificial hip that she had implanted about a year ago. Still, she seems to navigate her fairly cluttered home with remarkable ease. And, like many of us, she wants to maintain her independence and control her own destiny for as long as she can. Many discussions about supporting independent living for the elderly begin with monitoring, and yet the concepts of monitoring and independence are rather uneasy bedfellows. I began to contemplate just how she lives with and fosters her own independence through all of her things and what we might learn from that for designing for the emerging "Internet of Things". Maria has many objects, devices, and technologies she has adopted and adapted to support her living, and these in turn shape how she lives. I call these things habituated objects because she has incorporated them into her routines and her home, and they have in turn played a role in shaping how she lives in her home. I asked her what she thought were her most important and favorite objects. It's a diverse and interesting list: magnifying glasses, shoes, tea-­‐bag squeezer, big-­‐screen TV, computer, key-­‐on-­‐a-­‐string, free bus pass, sturdy shoes, and so on. These important things might give a little insight into tangible and embodied interaction design, not from the perspective of the young and healthy visiting museums and collaborating in workplaces, but from the perspective of one older woman in her actual aging body with all of its specific capabilities and time-­‐worn habits in the home she has adapted to suit her living for the past 15 years. Maria grew up during World War II in the U.K. and knows what it was like to live on rations. She doesn't like to waste anything. There is a paper bag on the kitchen counter that I would be tempted to throw out, but is there in case she buys bananas—they keep better in a paper bag like that. There is a small Marmite jar next to the kettle, (Figure 1a). I would recycle that one, but she tells me it's the perfect size for about two servings of milk. She fills it each night and takes it upstairs for her morning tea in bed, the first cup, and then the second. She makes the second cup by using her tea-­‐bag squeezer to get all of the remaining flavor out of one tea bag. It's a quirky little device that she enjoys for its utility and its clever little manual grab, squeeze, and release mechanism. There is a kettle by the bed as well as in the kitchen, so she can make her morning cups of tea in bed and listen to the radio without coming downstairs to the kitchen. It is a nice, relaxing way to start the day, tea in bed every morning, (Figure 1b). Learning about the objects in her home provides insight into her values and common routines.
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Attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969/1982) posits that internal working models are a foundational feature of human bonds. Radical embodied approaches suggest that cognition requires no computation or representation, favoring a cognition situated in a body in context with affordances for action (Barrett, 2011; Chemero, 2009; Wilson & Golonka, 2013). We explore whether embodied approaches to social soothing, interpersonal warmth, separation distress, and support seeking could replace representational constructs such as internal working models with a view of relationship cognition anchored in the resources afforded to the individual by their brain, body, and environment interacting. We review the neurobiological bases for social attachments and relationships and attempt to delineate how these systems overlap or don’t with more basic physiological systems in ways that support or contradict a radical embodied explanation. We suggest that many effects might be the result of the fact that relationship cognition depends on and emerges out of the action of neural systems that regulate several clearly physically grounded systems. For example, the neuropeptide oxytocin appears to be central to attachment and pair-bond behavior (Carter & Keverne, 2002) and is implicated in social thermoregulation, being necessary for maintaining a warm body temperature in rats (Kasahara et al., 2007) and humans (Beck et al., 1979).Finally, we discuss the most challenging issues around taking a radically embodied perspective on social relationships. We find the most crucial challenge in individual differences in support seeking and responses to social contact, which have long been thought to be a function of representational structures in the mind (e.g., Baldwin, 1995). Together we entertain the thought to explain such individual differences without mediating representations or computations ending with a discussion of how representational approaches might be integrated with embodied approaches.
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This book presents the framework for a new, comprehensive approach to cognitive science. The proposed paradigm, enaction, offers an alternative to cognitive science's classical, first-generation Computational Theory of Mind (CTM). Enaction, first articulated by Varela, Thompson, and Rosch in The Embodied Mind (MIT Press, 1991), breaks from CTM's formalisms of information processing and symbolic representations to view cognition as grounded in the sensorimotor dynamics of the interactions between a living organism and its environment. A living organism enacts the world it lives in; its embodied action in the world constitutes its perception and thereby grounds its cognition. Enaction offers a range of perspectives on this exciting new approach to embodied cognitive science.Some chapters offer manifestos for the enaction paradigm; others address specific areas of research, including artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, neuroscience, language, phenomenology, and culture and cognition. Three themes emerge as testimony to the originality and specificity of enaction as a paradigm: the relation between first-person lived experience and third-person natural science; the ambition to provide an encompassing framework applicable at levels from the cell to society; and the difficulties of reflexivity. Taken together, the chapters offer nothing less than the framework for a far-reaching renewal of cognitive science.Contributors: Renaud Barbaras, Didier Bottineau, Giovanna Colombetti, Diego Cosmelli, Hanne De Jaegher, Ezequiel A. Di Paolo. Andreas K. Engel, Olivier Gapenne, Veronique Havelange, Edwin Hutchins, Michel Le Van Quyen, Rafael E. Nunez, Marieke Rohde, Benny Shanon, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, Adam Sheya, Linda B. Smith, John Stewart, Evan Thompson