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PhD Thesis: Expecting space--an enactive and active inference approach to transitions



The following thesis is an interdisciplinary investigation of architectural transitions cast as a composite of space and experience in time. Dispersed between philosophy, architecture and cognitive neuroscience, the thesis also attempts to provide an empirically plausible neuroscientific framework that best explains the human experience of architectural transitions. Accordingly, the thesis is neither a pure study of space nor of the human, but instead, an investigation of the dynamics that emerge between the body and space during transitions. To this end, a falsifiable hypothesis is derived from the framework and tested to assess the quality of the framework.
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... The results indicate that early sensory brain activity differed as a function of affordances reflecting the lower level of the hierarchical structure in PEs stemming from TD predictions and BU sensory signals. These results suggest that sensorimotor affordances influence perception (Djebbara, 2020). Analyzing the frequency-domain of the same datasets, Djebbara and colleagues were further able to localize alpha desynchronization in the parieto-and temporooccipital regions, which may serve as markers for sensorimotor integration during interaction with the environment. ...
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The perceptual experience of architecture is enacted by the sensory and motor system. When we act, we change the perceived environment according to a set of expectations that depend on our body and the built environment. The continuous process of collecting sensory information is thus based on bodily affordances. Affordances characterize the fit between the physical structure of the body and capacities for movement in the built environment. Since little has been done regarding the role of architectural design in the emergence of perceptual experience on a neuronal level, this paper offers a first step towards the role of architectural design in perceptual experience. An approach to synthesize concepts from computational neuroscience with architectural phenomenology into a computational neurophenomenology is considered. The outcome is a framework under which studies of architecture and cognitive neuroscience can be cast.
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