Learning Bodies
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Is the body a mere container of learning processes? Or can we, in a productive way, develop an approach to learning that includes learning as a bodily phenomenon? The authors all work with the development or refinement of theories of 'learning bodies,' and in this anthology they present the state of the art to anybody with an interest in current scientific discussions about the interplay between body, movement and learning. A full understanding of learning in all its complexity requires that the body is taken into account - regardless of whether we are dealing with the neurological foundations of learning processes, skill acquisition, mental health and illness, aesthetics or the physical setting where the learning takes place. Body, movement and senses (in short: corporeality), provide the necessary experiences for change and development in relation to life-long learning. This anthology presents a range of theoretical approaches to learning; neuroscience, psychiatry, sociology, psychology, phenomenology and pedagogy. By presenting this range of approaches, the anthology raises a central question in the philosophy of science: the need for incorporation of different approaches to achieve further insights. The first section of the book, The Learning Body, concerns the learning process from a psychological, neuroscience and phenomenological point of view. In part two, The Encultured Body, gender and aesthetics will be analysed in relation to the body and the community of practice. The third section, The Educated Body, sheds light on various aspects of the body in educational contexts and different body-related conditions for learning. The anthology is of particular interest to researchers and students of education, development, and psychology, and to those interested in body and movement, both biomedical and the relation to social science and the humanities.



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Date de parution 31 décembre 2008
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9788771246230
Langue English

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Theresa S. S. Schilhab, Malou Juelskj r Thomas Moser (Eds.)
Learning Bodies
Danish School of Education Press
By Malou Juelskj r, Thomas Moser Theresa S. S. Schilhab
T his anthology presents a multiplicity of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, by authors, all engaged in the development or refinement of theories of learning bodies. Therefore, aspects of learning bodies are the common element in the chapters of this anthology. First of all, the idea of the body as a container is challenged, not to say left behind, while other ways of thinking and conceptualising are invented/presented. Furthermore, the common concept, which is meant to bind this anthology together, is learning, but not as a homogeneous and explicit understanding, but as a multitude of many-sided interpretations of both body and learning. It is a shared opinion of all of the authors that learning is not reducible to a pure cognitive or even neurological process, that learning embraces far more than a transfer of knowledge, and that learning concerns not only the cognitive domain, but also other domains like emotion, personality and identity as well as social and cultural processes. Whether we are dealing with such many-sided issues as the neurological foundations of learning processes, skill acquisition, mental health and illness, aesthetics or the physical space where learning is going on, you never will get to the complexity of the matter unless you keep the body in mind. Not only as a biological system, but as the genuine and holistic manner how humans are related, or embedded, in the physical and social world. Body, movement and senses, i.e. corporeality, provide the necessary experiences for change and development in a life long learning perspective.
We hope that by presenting this multitude of interpretations, the reader is inspired and challenged to continuously strive and re-think ways of thinking and knowing, instead of fixing and unequivocalising. In a sense, by forcing the reader to acknowledge a diversity of angles, the anthology also rehearses a central theme in philosophy of science by accentuating perspectives and the need of merging different approaches to achieve further insights.
Research in learning and body
In the beginning of this decade, knowledge and interdisciplinary dialogue in the research fields of learning and body was sparse. Since then the field has grown, and a number of publications have seen the light of day with ambitions of drawing up a field of research.
Among the social sciences, Sociology is truly where the body has gotten and still gets the most pronounced attention (e.g. Petersen 2007). Starting with the ground breaking contributions of Bryan S. Turner (1984; a new edition in 1996) the body has been established as one of the core topics in sociology that still generates a high amount of publications (Cregan 2006; Vannini Waskul 2006). Recently, a number of volumes containing historically significant contributions to the body issue in social science has been published (Fraser Greco 2005; The Aberdeen Body Group et al. 2004). A few decades with continuously increasing focus on body issues have seemingly created an interest in earlier texts published before this topic became hot .
With a clear relationship to Sociology, feminist research (Fausto-Sterling 2000; Fingerson 2006; Frost 2001; Niranjana 2001; Young 2005) has significantly contributed to shed light on the body from a new perspective. Feminist research is often inspired by post modernistic perspectives (e.g. Norton 2002), but post-modern research also uses the body to question assumptions about the dominance of language, as shown by Terdiman (2005). And, as demonstrated by Moi (2005), feminist theory and research may also challenge dominant post-structuralist theories of sex and gender, providing a third way between essentialism and constructionism.
Another hallmark in recent times is the emergence of more and more approaches that cut across traditional academic domains. Medical anthropology (Csordas 1994; Lock Farquhar 2007; Lupton 2003; Worton Wilson-Tagoe 2004) has traditionally had a broad and integrative view on the body, challenging a pure biological understanding of the body by questioning basic assumptions in medical science by e.g. anthropological, sociological, ethnology, philosophical and psychological means. New topics like organ transplantation (Ben-David 2005; Sharp 2006) underline the necessity to rethink the body in new ways by describing body organs as an exchangeable socio-cultural resource. Even the immune system has been analyzed in a sociocultural context (Wilce 2003) and it has been pointed out that immunity and disease may also on the biological level, be partly constituted by social processes, rethoric and politics.
Furthermore, new interdisciplinary approaches have been established between the rapidly expanding neurosciences, psychology and philosophy, especially phenomenology (e.g. Gallagher 2005; Gallagher, Pockett Banks 2006) underlining the importance of embodiment to all kinds of cognitive processes. Recent developments in cognitive science also stress the significance of embodied actions as inextricably related to cognition and language (Gibbs 2006).
To conclude this outline of a growing field, one more interesting border-crossing approach should be mentioned: The reflexions of the body in a semiotic perspective as presented by Thibault (2004), who is trying to understand both the semiotic, discursive nature, activity and the physical context as important prerequisites for meaning-making.
Non-certainty: D -/collage - Invitations to the reader
From diverse angles, the individual chapters outline and enter into a constructive and creative in-fight with classical and contemporary thinking and theory concerning body/embodiment and learning. From this outset, new perspectives are developed and presented, and the reader is offered overviews, insights and theoretical thinking-technologies about how it is possible to understand - and analytically engage with - body and learning. A number of the articles draw on empirical research. Thereby, the reader is invited to put the theoretical discussions to work in social practice/the lived everyday in various educational contexts.
We furthermore invite the reader to regard the anthology as a de-/collage . At the risk of wearing out a well-worn metaphor, by collage we want to underline the bringing together of disparate elements, of presenting a field that could have been outlined otherwise, and in this regard, though it presents a body (that we proudly present) it is still to be taken as relatively unfinished and unfixed: The anthology is in no way exhaustive of the possibilities to think the intersections of body and learning - and the de- in the collage is put there in order not to become stuck with a metaphor/image that could simultaneously be understood as a finished entity . The d -/collage is an invitation to the reader both to take on and to tear up the image/field presented - since d collage (in English: take-off or to become unstuck ) in art, is the opposite of collage: instead of an image (/field) built up of parts of existing images, a decollage is created by cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing pieces of an already existing image.
Folded within these considerations is furthermore a modesty regarding the fact, that as it turned out, the articles are primarily produced from within The global suburbs of Scandinavia . Certainly this has an impact on the level of generalisation and transferability of some of the insights of the chapters. Thus, we invite the reader to such double-movement ; d -/collage.
Presentation of the chapters
The anthology is separated into three sections, namely The knowing body, The encultured body and The educated body. These themes are central pivots around which any reunion of body and learning is revolving.
The main focus of the first section is the individual body, without denying the fact that the body always is both individual and sociocultural. The knowing body has a narrow perspective on the learning process from a psychological, neuroscience and phenomenological point of view. In The encultured body section, gender and aesthetics will be discussed in a body perspective as well as in a community of practice. The third section, The educated body, sheds light on various aspects of the body in educational contexts and different body-related conditions for learning. The individual chapters will be introduced in the following.
The knowing body (part one)
The first section opens with a chapter by Theresa Schilhab Christian Gerlach Embodiment, corporeality and neuroscience . They address embodiment from the biological perspective and through the field of cognitive neuroscience. They use empirical research about the effects of brain damage on peoples ability to talk, make classifications and remember to explore how the body is an active component that adds uniquely and indispensably to cognition. Through this analysis Schilhab and Gerlach seek out (traces of) links between cognitive processes and the body, thereby offering new understanding of the constitutive relationship between body and cognition and evidence of embodied cognition.
Reinhard Stelter addresses Learning in the light of the first-person approach . This is the first of three chapters by Stelter, dedicated to various perspectives of learning and body from a phenomenomenal point of view. Here, Stelter describes and presents the first-person perspective as a source of the individual s deeper understanding of his/her interplay with a specific context and environment. This perspective is connected to the concept of the lived body. Embodied knowledge expressed from the first-person perspective can be viewed as the basis for personal and social meaning-making and as an important dimension for the building of communities of practice. Only through the understanding of each others experiences, thoughts, reflections, values, motives and aims, Stelter argues, can we establish well-functioning learning- and working communities.
In Body, emotions and learning Simon N rby s leitmotif is to investigate whether emotional learning and emotional influences on cognitive learning are critically dependent on the body. N rby questions and criticises, thoroughly and carefully through-out the chapter. Thereby providing a thorough insight in the neuropsychological approach to the relation between bodies, emotions and learning, showing how central theories and empirical evidence relating emotions, body and learning can be seriously questioned.
The encultured body (part two)
The chapter Sweethearts - The body as a learning subject by Nina Rossholt offers a post-structuralist perspective on the (gendered) body, through an empirical analysis of preschool children s play. The article questions how girls and boys create processes of learning in their activities, through expressions of the body and spoken language in preschool context. The analytical strategy of troubling the taken-for-granted opens up the complexity and multiple subject positions through which children are becoming learning subjects in institutions, and within this analytical approach it is shown how play and the pedagogies regulation of play is a source of the constitution of gender and heteronormativity.
Exploring body-anchored and experience-based learning in a community of practice by Reinhard Stelter. The chapter aims to integrate body-anchored and experience-based learning in the theoretical concept of learning in a community of practice. Present moment, epoch , intentional orientation and meaning-making are introduced as the four basic premises for body-anchored and experience-based learning which, in a second step, is presented as part of the social realm and as one of the prerequisites of learning in a community of practice. This integration is established and becomes visible through the following two concepts: 1. Reification as the outflow of co-ordinated action, and 2. narratives as the outflow of speech acts, originally based on embodied and experience-based knowledge.
Where the ordinary ends and the extreme begins - aesthetics and masculinities among young men . On the basis of empirical studies in the city of Copenhagen, Niels Ulrik S rensen analyses body perceptions and practices among young men who push their bodies to the limit in order to meet contemporary ideals of aesthetizised male bodies. The chapter weaves this analysis into conceptual discussions of the dichotomies between the individualized/massificated body, the masculine/feminine body and the natural/cultural body. The chapter makes use of the concept of corporeality as a third position - i.e. a position which can bridge the components in dichotomous concepts of the body.
The educated body (part three)
Corporeality, exercise, mental health and mental disorders by Egil Martinsen Thomas Moser provides an overview of the increasing scientific documentation of correlative and causal relations between a variety of aspects of corporeality, mental health and mental disorders explanations of these relations. Several theories that try to explain how corporeal processes may affect different aspects of mental health (and disorders) are discussed and vague and contradictory findings as well as limitations in the existing body of knowledge are addressed. Today there still is no grand theory that can give a full explanation of these relations.
Cultural body learning - the social designation of code-curricula by Cathrine Hasse. In this chapter, Hasse connects discussions from the disparate fields of psychology, anthropology and philosophy while offering new theory regarding how learning influences the conceptualisation of physical place and the body as well as identities and the sense of belonging in physical space. Through empirical analysis of newcomers becoming a member of an institutionalized community (university students), Hasse develops the concept cultural code-curriculum , which is learned pre-discursively through bodily interaction and reaction to bodily presence and actions. Learning the code-curriculum, Hasse argues, can influence who becomes a physicist and who does not.
Approaches to enhance body-anchored and experience-based learning is the final contribution by Reinhard Stelter. As the first two chapters have been theoretical, this one is practical/empirical in the sense that he develops ideas for the application of body-anchored learning. The main focus is on empirical examples from physical education. Body-anchored learning is conceptualised and analysed as integrated in a cultural setting and as part of learning in a community of practice.
Embodied learning in movement by Liv Duesund, is a philosophical exploration of the relation between the body as an object and the body as a subject. Duesund bases her discussion on the field of APA (Adapted Physical Activity). As she develops a body/phenomenological approach to understand adapted physical activity, she challenges existential dimensions in the field of APA. The chapter presents a theoretical outline of possible conditions needed to avoid objectification of participants engaged in APA.
The body as narrator by Helle R nholt. R nholt analyses complex negotiations of bodily in- and exclusions in a social context - in a Fourth Grade PE-class. R nholt s empirical/analytical framework stems primarily from phenomenology, and the analysis offers perspectives on learning premises for children and teachers in an ethnic racialized space. Furthermore, by introducing the key analytical concept the silent body , R nholt questions whether a bodily inertia in some places and cases might prevent learning.
In Movement analyses and identification of learning processes , Mia Herskind works on empirical material based on observations in two kindergarten institutions, and she presents an approach to legitimate and differentiate an interpretation of how focus on bodies and movements can qualify the understanding and interpretation of children s learning and well-being in kindergarten. Her frame of reference is hermeneutical/phenomenological, i.e. related to research questions that concerns learning processes, not only as reflective and discursive, but also pre-reflective, corporeal and emotional.
Finally, in the chapter Body bildung - an essay about learning and corporeality S ren Kj r Jensen Thomas Moser point out that in future corporeality and embodiment in educational settings should be reflected in a much higher degree and more differentiated than today. They claim that body and corporeality, as core components of Bildung, need to lay the foundation for an active, engaged and genuinely embodied educational practice which may support a balanced being in the world in children.
In the closing chapter of the anthology, Post Scriptum - On Learning bodies , the editors sum up the themes of the anthology with special attention to the problems of addressing the body from a single perspective i.e. within a single scientific field. With the chapter we hope to emphasise that truly accepting and stimulating the reunion of body and learning cannot be accomplished from within a single perspective. It is our hope that at a meta-level this anthology exemplifies why.
Ben-David, O. B. (2005). Organ donation and transplantation: body organs as an exchangeable socio-cultural resource. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers.
Cregan, K. (2006). The sociology of the body: mapping the abstraction of embodiment. London: Sage.
Csordas, T. J. (1994). Embodiment and experience: the existential ground of culture and self. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Fausto-Sterling, A. (2000). Sexing the body: gender politics and the construction of sexuality. New York: Basic Books.
Fingerson, L. (2006). Girls in power: gender, body, and menstruation in adolescence. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press.
Fraser, M., Greco, M. (Eds.). (2005). The Body: a reader. London: Routledge.
Frost, L. (2001). Young women and the body: a feminist sociology. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Gallagher, S. (2005). How the body shapes the mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Gallagher, S., Pockett, S., Banks, W. P. (2006). Does consciousness cause behavior? Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Gibbs, R. W. (2006). Embodiment and cognitive science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lock, M. M., Farquhar, J. (2007). Beyond the body proper: reading the anthropology of material life. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.
Lupton, D. (2003). Medicine as culture: illness, disease and the body in Western societies. London: Sage.
Moi, T. (2005). Sex, gender and the body: the student edition of What is a woman? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Niranjana, S. (2001). Gender and space: femininity, sexualization and the female body. New Dehli: Sage.
Norton, A. (2002). Bloodrites of the post-structuralists: word, flesh and revolution. New York: Routledge.
Petersen, A. (2007). The body in question: a socio-cultural approach. London: Routledge.
Sharp, L. A. (2006). Strange harvest: organ transplants, denatured bodies, and the transformed self. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.
Terdiman, R. (2005). Body and story: the ethics and practice of theoretical conflict. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.
The Aberdeen Body Group, Blaikie, A., Hepworth, M., Holms, M., Howson, A., Inglis, D., et al. (Eds.). (2004). The Body: Critical Concepts in Sociology (Vol. I-V). London, New York: Routledge.
Thibault, P. J. (2004). Brain, mind, and the signifying body: an ecosocial semiotic theory. London: Continuum.
Turner, B. S. (1984). The body and society: explorations in social theory. Oxford: Blackwell.
Turner, B. S. (1996). The body and society: explorations in social theory (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications.
Vannini, P., Waskul, D. D. (Eds.). (2006). Body/embodiment: symbolic interaction and the sociology of the body. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Wilce, J. M. (2003). Social and cultural lives of immune systems. London: Routledge.
Worton, M., Wilson-Tagoe, N. (Eds.). (2004). National healths: gender, sexuality and health in a cross-cultural context. London: UCL Press.
Young, I. M. (2005). On female body experience: Throwing like a girl and other essays. New York: Oxford University Press.
Part 1 The knowing body
Chapter 1 Embodiment, corporeality and neuroscience
By Theresa S.S. Schilhab Christian Gerlach 1
T he legacy of the cognitive revolution, with its neglect of the human body, has prevailed until recently. Today it is clearer than ever, at least within cognitive neuroscience, that our bodies shape/constrain the way we function cognitively. In this chapter we address the idea of embodiment from the biological perspective. We jump start the analysis by a philosophical stipulation of what embodiment could imply. To this end we make use of two different thought experiments and discuss the concept of interactional expertise. Then we introduce some empirical research to exemplify how the body - in more than just a trivial sense - is a co-determiner of cognitive architecture. We will argue that the body is an active component that adds uniquely and indispensably to cognition.
Thought experiments
Knowledge of execution
Some kinds of cognition rely heavily on bodily instantiation. This pertains to the ability to balance a bicycle 2 . Simply reading about how to ride a bike rather than actually doing it does not make one a biking expert. Moreover, any verbal report on bike balancing is likely to be subsequent rationalizing for the simple reason that biking involves body knowledge. In order to count as biking, bodily involvement is needed. This is why we could not have robots bike for us and still name the activity biking (even though robots could be said to bike themselves).
What is body knowledge and to what extent is it responsible for biking? To answer these questions, let us first try to capture what elements biking is composed of to find out if and in what respect the body 3 could be dispensed with.
First, the skill of merely balancing activates certain bodily components, the actual position of the joints, the position of hands on the handles, the bodily force with which the pedals are moved to make the bike roll. Neurobiologically, these abilities are stored in cortices responsible for the execution of motor knowledge. Clearly, if these cortices were injured, cycling could not be carried out, because the neural correlates of accomplishing the act would have been wiped out. The body would not know how physically to carry out the action, since such fundamentals as muscle tension and appropriate combinations of muscular activity would be impossible to achieve. There would be no possibility of execution. But is this an adequate description of how we conceive of bodily involvement in biking? Surely, there is more to balancing a bike than just simple motor knowledge (knowledge of execution). Elaborating the analysis of body knowledge seems essential.
Knowledge of sensation
First, one cannot employ the same amount of force or utilize the same joint position on every occasion, since balancing is not the same in all conditions. If the road is slippery, the weight of the body must be distributed slightly differently to maintain grip. For example, the way to cut a curve changes considerably in dry and wet weather and on irregular or smooth tarmac. To meet the challenge of different environments (such as changing weather conditions or road surfaces), the biker must obtain information that makes him able to determine, adjust and execute his actions appropriately. To what extent does that depend on body knowledge?
Part of this knowledge is just more motor knowledge such as new constellations of muscle weight, muscle tone and positions of joints appropriate to new settings. Yet part of the knowledge seems to be of another quality.
Knowing about current conditions and picking out the appropriate muscular combination surely involves the body, simply because it accommodates sense organs that provide the information on which such judgements are based. This is not to say that manipulation of sensory information is all there is to judgement, but here we are concerned with obvious bodily contributions and neglect propositional thinking for the moment.
Sensory cells sustaining sight, hearing, kinaesthetic sense, sense of equilibrium, etc., are the gates to the surroundings and the first station in the cascade of processes sustaining appropriate navigation in changing environments.
Is the body dispensable?
Thus far, we can conclude that the body perceives information about the versatility of the conditions throughout the biking activity, and it executes (mechanically) the activity.
But apart from these obvious contributions to the activity, the question remains: is the body decisive for biking; i.e., does it add processes without which biking could not be accomplished? To sharpen our focus, we are not interested in the imperative of the body as a provider of energy and nourishment and the mechanical device by which we subsist. Though undoubtedly vital to existence, as various illnesses teach us, we want to analyse whether the body is imperative to cognition. Accordingly, we are intentionally questioning the primacy of the mind/head in cognition. We are specifically interested in the body as an active component that adds uniquely and indispensably to cognition.
To rephrase the question: is it unproblematic to replace that part of the body involved in biking with prostheses to carry out the simple task of conveying information about stimuli? Suppose a person born without limbs could be interfaced with a computer that simulated stimulation of all senses at the neural level in the same way that natural biking would do 4 - that is, all neurons concerned with learning, understanding and maintaining biking were fed with information the normal novice biker would acquire to sustain the illusion of activity in normal limbs. What would happen if a person, after being exposed to huge amounts of simulated bike learning, became an expert biker (in this rather artificial sense of the term) and went through a successful leg and arm operation that miraculously gave him full functionality? Would he use his arms and legs as nimbly as if he had had normal ones during training? Or if anything went lost because of the new limbs lack of history, what kind of knowledge would it be?
If he behaved normally, we could conclude that the limbs are merely conveyors of information and we would endorse the idea of information as propositional and symbolic (Collins 2000). In that sense, the body would be a mere remedy for - and incidental to - our learning ability. Since we could circumvent the body by using prostheses, it would be a sufficient, but not necessary, condition for our ability to ride a bike.
To spell it out, if nothing was lost, it would make no difference to biking skill if the artificial expert had an operation or prostheses as long as both solutions were operable at the same level as normal limbs. On the other hand, if knowledge was somehow lost, we would have to conclude that the limbs (and thus the body) play a more active part in developing skills.
The body transplant - mismatch between sensing and execution
To take the point even further and explore the black box between sensing and execution by focussing on the actual constraints entailed by the body, let us go through another mind-bending example.
Suppose for a moment that future neurosurgeons have the skills and knowledge necessary to amputate the head of one man and restore it, fully functional, on the neck of another.
They would thus have the technical and scientific scope of knowledge about how to line up, connect and preserve neurons from different organic sources. And suppose that the paramount ideal of society was to be strong, muscular and fit. Moreover, the ideal - due to stressful living and perhaps the repulsiveness of being sweaty during exercise - was to invest as little time as possible in accomplishing that goal 5 . Would it then be possible, while accepting the minor inconveniences of losing one s own body and personal signs such as tattoos and nostalgic scars, to move comfortably and agilely with the donor body? The question is: would the transplanted person function immediately and perfectly since all action is directed by certain cortical areas, and they have not changed. If so, we can safely conclude that the body offers nothing substantial to the effect.
Apparently, such amputations could not work out in reality. According to Collins (2000) 6 , the transplanted person would not be able to engage the muscles flawlessly or smoothly adapt to the change in bone structure on the spot. He would have huge amounts of information to learn about his new body, probably in the same way as someone learning how to walk on stilts. The new body would be an extension that has to become implemented before he would feel at ease with it.
What should we make of this? If one cannot have a body transfer without spending much time on adaptation, the body seems to be crucial in a more fundamental way, and these bodily constraints seem relevant to the discussion of bodily knowledge.
Naturally, the new body gives new sensations. Perhaps, the new body has lost a finger giving rise to a different configuration of the inflicted hand and the deformity is painstakingly apparent whenever grasping a cup. Or, perhaps, the feet make more contact with the ground when treading and the shoulders take up more space than before. Insofar as these bodily differences cause new experiences, immediate adaptation is unlikely. When walking by obstacles or other people in the street, the transplanted person will have to adjust to his new dimensions. Is there more to it than getting in sync with the new body?
If we granted the transplanted man a period of habituation, would he then achieve complete adjustment? In fact, he might, since he could become an expert at using the new body. But admitting perfect adjustment does not mean that he would be able to take up his old form of life, and that irreversibility makes the imperative of the body manifest in at least three ways.
The first and second approaches - the argument from the perspective of bodily construction and delegation of knowledge, respectively - take an individual stance on embodied cognition. Any bodily contribution depends on idiosyncratic experiences and circumstances in the life of the individual. Thus, any intra-species variability is due to ontogenetic development. The third approach, the argument from the perspective of evolution, on the other hand, is species specific in the sense that every species has it own bodily history. It claims the irreducibility of bodily cognition on the basis of evolution. In a sense, the evolutionary approach demarcates the nature and the extent of bodily cognition.
The argument from the perspective of bodily construction
The first argument has to do with bodily construction. Literally speaking, the body defines the perspective of the perceiver by restricting the outlook as to what can and what cannot be attended to. To pick a telling example: to a child, the adult world is situated above his or her head. Thus, the sphere of interesting things such as candy and matches can be kept below the child s focus (for instance, on tables). And the child is never aware of the temptation, until he or she realizes that adults have a way of keeping things out of sight.
In the same manner, if one loses a finger, other bodily strategies will have to evolve to grasp a cup, and with new bodily strategies new interfaces develop. We take the argument from bodily construction to be congenial to the notion of the social embodiment thesis (Collins 2004), which states that the language developed by a society is related to the bodily form of its members because bodily form affects the things they can do in the world. Insofar as language is verbal behaviour, it is a token of a particular outlook in just the same way as biking.
In line with the argument from the perspective of bodily construction is the emphasis on movement as advanced by Sheets-Johnstone (1998; 1999). Moving about enforces environmental changes in organisms and perceptions thereby also change (see also Churchland 1986).
To conclude, bodily construction influences cognition in the loose sense of actually defining the outlook.
The argument from the perspective of delegation of knowledge
A second argument of the imperative of the body rests on the principle of decentralization and biofeedback. To grasp what this means: how would the old and new bodies, respectively, contribute to biking? Let us assume that the old body had hours and hours of training, year after year, while the new body, though slim and fit, had never experienced life from a bicycle saddle. How does the number of bike experiences affect the old body as compared to the new? Doubtless, the configuration of leg muscles, muscle tone and litheness would be completely different, and the new body would simply have to catch up through heavy training. But would the history of the old body play any other role than that of physical constitution in the differences?
Almost certainly the body played an active part in taking up biking to begin with. Some bodies are just born to bike and, in that sense, natural abilities are indispensable. But the question of history addresses the question of the body being integral to and then part of former experiences. For instance, does increased use of whatever sensors are used in biking (for instance, the organ of equilibrium) feed back on them and improve their performance (making bikers organs of equilibrium dynamic participators in the activity)?
Is the employment of senses stimulated by use? The idea is not farfetched, as the mechanism is improved by muscular activity, which simultaneously prepares the muscle for dealing with an augmented load in the future.
However, other examples of processes that are delegated to the body can also be found. By surgically disconnecting the spinal cord from the brain in rats, it has been shown that alleged cognitive abilities remain intact (Grau 2002).
Here we touch upon the real issue: if the body accommodates processes of causal relevance to cognition, amputation with non-negligible effects is very unlikely.
The argument from the perspective of evolution
The third argument has to do with the biological filtering of information. However compelling, the argument questions the idea of circumventing the body and directing certain combinations of stimuli straight to the brain. It may be logically appealing, but to allow one self to think of bypassing the body is, in fact, a mistake.
To comprehend and imitate the complexity of signals that impinges on the body is impossible.
We meet our environment at the surface of our body. Our senses (and their location in the body) have evolved and become susceptible to environmental features over time in a close race in the best interests of organisms 7 . Senses cannot be studied without taking into account the environment they were shaped by. Intertwined development is carved into the delicate constitution of the body from the lowest molecular level of co-operative second messenger cascades to idiosyncratic features of sense organs. Every subtle cellular mechanism consists of elements that can be traced back to tricks that have worked since the beginning of life. The sophistication of each mechanism is so formidable that it may prove impossible to disentangle.
In that understanding, the body is indispensable because it literally carries with it examples of processes that make evolutionary sense and that ultimately dictate the workings of the brain.
The intricacy of the visual system in primates 8 , including humankind, is composed of millions of years of reality checks. Seeing would never have evolved if vulnerability to radiant emittance had not paid off (Schilhab 2007). Thus, the fact that different features emit radiation from the sun differently forms the basis of colour sensitivity.
To grasp the arbitrariness of our senses, we could make the same point with echolocation in bats. Bats see the environment by emitting sounds (and sound waves) that bounce back when they encounter obstacles. It is not imperative that bats use echolocation and humans do not to navigate in the world. The reason they do so is conditional on evolutionary circumstances.
Organisms have achieved idiosyncratic sensitivity (i.e., a visual system or echolocation) to their surroundings because in the long run it increased their chances of survival 9 .
Biological filtering also embraces innate 10 learning strategies such as habituation, sensitization and conditioning. In the same way, the evolutionary fingerprint stipulates the extent to which conditioning comes into play. If rats drink something new (sweet or salty) and become ill (induced by X-rays), they avoid drinking water with that taste in future. But if the experiment only involves an electric shock, they do not seem to associate the shock with what they have drunk. On the other hand, if rats drink water accompanied with bright flashes and clicking noises and then receive a shock, they will readily learn to avoid the water, while nausea is without effect (Byrne 1995).
Congruence between body and environment results from considerable numbers of tests inimitable in complexity and therefore incomprehensible.
In every respect the body is an imprint of evolutionary progress and time. Therefore, what can in fact be processed by the brain is uniquely determined by the history of the body as the resonator of evolutionary trial and errors. From that perspective, the brain is but a means to solve environmental challenges and part and parcel with other organs such as the lungs, heart and eyes, which serve the function of sustaining life in the body.
Interactional and contributory experts
To this point, we have presented arguments for how the body from the biological point of view in the form of bodily construction, delegation of knowledge and evolution could be imperative to cognition. Though these arguments are persuasive, we still circle around any concrete demonstration of body knowledge in actual cognition. Even if the body is constitutive of perspective, decentralized learning, and species-specific learning mechanisms, a direct link between specific cognitive processes and the body is still needed. The link becomes even more urgent in light of theories of knowledge which assign the connection between cognition and the body more or less to metabolic processes in the sense of oxygen and carbohydrate supply. And it is a fact that we can use concepts properly - for instance unicorns - even if we never actually had any bodily experience of the phenomenon the concept refers to.
To understand how far bodily constraints of cognition take us, we have to analyse in what sense concept use is independent of bodily experiences. In Collins (2004), the distinction between interactional and contributory experts in, for instance, a scientific field is a distinction between experts without the concomitant bodily experience and experts with bodily experience (see also Collins et al., 2006; Collins Evans 2007). While contributory experts are full-blown experts (they can publish papers in scientific journals, apply for jobs and work in laboratories), interactional experts are not. However, interactional experts, such as science writers and sociologists, have participated for many years in the scientific discourse. To ascribe symbol type knowledge (see Collins 2000) to interactional experts would be a mistake. Prolonged immersion in the language socializes interactional experts and distinguishes them from any expert system type person. Interactional experts may have informed talks with contributory experts with advanced knowledge that makes them able to recognise jokes, irony, and leg pulls (Collins 2004, p. 129). Though they cannot apply for a job in the subject, they are eloquent in conversation. According to Collins, if an interactional (I) and contributory expert (C) were to converse with a third party - another contributory expert, he would not be able to differentiate between the two by discourse alone. That is to say, I and C might share same linguistic insight into the topic. Put differently, I and C both know all there is to know explicitly about the topic, but I has no additional knowledge from hands-on experience in practice.
Differentiation of knowledge into contributory and interactional expertise touches upon the possibility that linguistic competence could be independent of body knowledge.
The idea of interactional expertise allows that the language of a community whose members are embodied in one way can be acquired by individuals with different shaped bodies and who cannot participate in the activities of that community (Collins 2004, p. 129).
Given the validity of this picture, bodily experiences are not causally connected to informed conversations. Thousand of hours of experience with laboratory equipment and bodily exposure to the situations researchers explicitly talk about should add nothing to their ability to address the scientific topic linguistically 11 .
The imperative of body and reality
Does not the concept of interactional experts ridicule the idea of significant bodily constraints on cognition? Even if it certainly looks like it, the answer must be no (see also Schilhab 2007). Interactional experts are knowledgeable of the scientific discourse to an extent that makes them inseparable from the rest of the community if tested by their talent for intelligent conversation. Still, according to Collins, the vocabulary of interactional experts (Iv) is parasitic on contributory vocabulary (Cv). If the interactional vocabulary piggybacks on contributory discourse, it differs in a non-negligible fashion that might be at variance with Iv being inseparable from Cv.
First, Iv conversations will probably lack sufficient reference to real life situations as interactional experts by definition are less knowledgeable about real life application. The lack appears as a mutated form of creative thinking characterized by discernable detachment from reality. Interactional experts would relate to the scientific topic in the same way the young relate to life. Since they are still novices with respect to the ups and downs and regularities of life, they can (fortunately) have bold and ungovernable fantasies. They might have strong opinions on how to bring up children or how to combat harassment at work or the unfaithfulness of a spouse. Later in life, hands-on experience and learning the hard way regulate their ideas 12 . Only by living life do we systematically learn what will work and what will not.
Similarly Iv might diverge ever so slightly from Cv by disobeying rules invoked by reality. An objection to understanding Iv as more imaginative than Cv is that we did not take the piggybacking characterization at face value. One could counter that, if we did, we would have to accept that interactional experts are linguistic imitators; thus, they would not use conversational elements that had not already been sanctioned by the scientific community. They would have learned everything there is to say about the topic as well as how to talk about the topic by being exposed to and involved in conversations with contributory experts. Collins, for instance, compares the interactional expert to a spy visiting a strange town in which he attempts to behave like a native. Although he has never actually been to the place, he has studied all there is to be said explicitly about the city by talking to natives and adopting their linguistic expressions (Collins 2004, p. 129). Thus, piggybacking on contributory vocabularies and manners of speaking ensures a level of eloquence that makes Iv impossible to discern from Cv.
However, the counterargument is false, since interactional experts at the outset are thought to be linguistically inventive and not at all parrot-like. They are equal interlocutors, and that excludes simple mimicking. Otherwise, they would not be convincing in discourse, which among other things probes for match with reality. What we object to is the idea that everything that could be said about a topic has in fact been said by contributory experts and could therefore eventually be picked up by interactional experts. It is highly conceivable that interactional experts produce ideas (based on their purely linguistic competences) that follow the general linguistic expressions ( rules?) of the scientific community but conflict with non-linguistic knowledge. Here, non-linguistic knowledge could be knowledge that has not yet been formulated but still informs every contributory expert. It is knowledge gained from practice but, for some reason, not yet formulated. In laser building, it could be the length of capacitor leads, which H did not notice at first in the source laboratory but nevertheless had some vague ideas about (Collins 1992, p. 61).
A related objection is that real life encounters may form pivots on which aspects of linguistic knowledge hinge. For instance, when contributory experts talk, they will refer to real life phenomena which they encounter during laboratory work. Notice, that contributory participants of the same discourse are also likely to refer to the same kind of real life experiences. In contrast, interactional experts, who lack the same experience, have different vocabulary references. When they use technical terms, these are defined purely in linguistic terms. In other words, the interactional language derives its meaning exclusively from other words. Although interactional language piggybacks on contributory discourse, it relates exclusively to rules of discourse (which words go with which words, etc.) 13 . In contrast, contributory language derives its meaning partly from how it refers to other words and partly from real referents (see also Schilhab 2007).
This may not seem persuasive with respect to the imperative of the body. If Iv is no different from Cv, who cares what their vocabularies actually refer to? Yet, this is exactly the point we want to make: Iv is different from Cv to a considerable extent. One difference has to do with memory. As contributory experts partly refer to reality and real life experiences, their linguistic memory has more pegs to cling to. In comparison, the linguistic memory of interactional experts only clings to other words and their interrelation. All else being equal, contributory conversation might be more flexible and thoughts might come more quickly to mind, especially from subtle cues. Substantiation of this hypothesis could be pursued by empirical research.
Empirical experiments
The case of mental transformations
We will now turn from the philosophical analysis to a couple of studies in cognitive psychology that corroborate the theory of embodied cognition.
In the first study, published in 1971 by Shepard and Metzler, subjects had to decide whether two geometrical figures were identical to each other, apart from potential differences in their angular orientation (Fig 1a), or whether they were mirror images of each other (Fig 1b). By measuring reaction time, Shepard and Metzler were able to demonstrate that the time taken by subjects to reach a decision increased as a linear function of the angular difference between the figures: the greater the angular difference, the longer the reaction time (50%, to be precise). At first, this finding might not seem surprising. If you were presented with two such figures (on separate pieces of paper), you would probably rotate one of them until it visually matched - or turned out not to match - the other.

Figure 1
The interesting part of Shepard and Metzler s experiment is that the subjects were not actually manipulating the figures but merely looking at them presented on a screen. The interpretation seemed quite straightforward: the subjects were rotating the figures in their heads. Hence, the title of their paper came to be: Mental Rotation of Three-Dimensional Objects . According to Shepard and Metzler, the subjects were presumed to encode one of the figures as a mental representation which was then virtually rotated to test whether it could overlay the other. That is, the subjects were hypothesized to be performing a mental visuospatial transformation. Recent studies have cast doubt on the completeness of this explanation. If visuospatial transformation is all there is to rotation, we would expect this task to be mediated by areas in the brain that are normally associated with visuospatial processing. To be sure, such areas do light up when subjects are scanned while they perform the task, but they are not the only active areas during the task and, perhaps, not even the areas critical for the rotation component in the task. As it turns out, rotation tasks also recruit areas of the brain that are normally involved in motor functions (the primary motor cortex and the premotor cortex) (see, e.g., Richter, Somorjai et al. 2000; Windischberger, Lamm et al. 2003; Wraga, Thompson et al. 2003). In a sense, the table is turned: we now have a situation in which activation of motor areas is found even though no actual manual manipulation is performed! Before jumping to the conclusion that mental rotation is actually achieved by covert motor processing (using motor areas of the brain to simulate real movement), we need to consider the possibility that the motor activation observed could be an epiphenomenon. Just because an area lights up during execution of a given task, there is no guarantee that the area is critical for performing the task (Price, Mummery et al. 1999). In the present case, it is conceivable that motor areas become active because they automatically prepare for action even though no action is required (a motor priming effect). There are two lines of evidence against this possibility. Firstly, if motor areas are temporarily made unusable (by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation), performance during at least some types of rotation tasks deteriorates (Ganis, Keenan et al. 2000). Secondly, if subjects are required to perform a task requiring actual motor behaviour concurrently with a mental rotation task, performance on the rotation task deteriorates (Wohlschlager Wohlschlager 1998). This would only be expected if the two tasks recruit the same resources; otherwise, there should be no interference. This has perhaps been most elegantly demonstrated by Wexler et al. (1998). They had subjects perform a task requiring them manually to move a joystick either clockwise or counterclockwise to the rotation required in the mental rotation task. As would be predicted if the mental rotation task actually requires processing by motor areas in the brain, mental rotation was faster and more accurate when the direction of the mental and manual joystick rotation were compatible than when they were incompatible. Moreover, the speed of the mental rotation correlated with the speed of the manual joystick rotation (when they were compatible) for the individual subjects even though the speed varied considerably between subjects. Importantly, this latter finding is not simply due to a general (underlying) visuospatial processing speed that would be manifest in all tasks. If this were the case, mental rotation times would also correlate with the time taken to perform other tasks requiring visual-motor processing, and they do not (Pellizzer Georgopoulos 1993).
From the findings considered here, it would appear that the motor system is not only a simple output device for cognition but may actually drive some cognitive operations in the first place. Interestingly, this state of affairs may not be limited to transformations based on rotation. It may also apply to transformations of size. Consider the two pairs of figures presented in Fig. 2.

Figure 2
Imagine that you have to decide whether the figures are identical to each other, apart from differences in size (Fig 2a), or whether they are mirror images of each other (Fig 2b). How do you do this? Probably in much the same way as when you have to rotate mentally the figures presented in Figure 1. You encode one of the figures as a mental representation, but this time you make a virtual transformation of size, rather than a virtual transformation of orientation to test whether it could overlay the other. As is the case for mental transformations of orientation (rotation), mental transformations of size also yield reaction times that increase as a linear function of the difference in size: the greater the difference, the longer it takes to figure out whether they are identical or not (Bundesen Larsen 1975). What happens in the brain when people perform mental size transformations? Well, quite a lot in fact. Here we will concentrate on one particular finding: area V5 gets activated (Larsen, Bundesen et al. 2000). This area is located posteriorly in the brain in the visual cortex and is believed to be specialized in analysing visual movement (objects that move in space) (Zeki 1993). Why should this area be important for solving a task in which there is no visual movement in the stimuli (e.g., in a scenario resembling mental rotation in which the motor cortex gets activated even though no movement is performed)? A possible explanation has been given by Bundesen et al. (1983). They presented people with stimuli similar to those presented in Figure 2 but one at a time in succession (rather than simultaneously). By adjusting the interval between the presentations of two stimuli, they were able to induce an impression of (apparent) visual movement; in other words, to the subjects, it appeared as if there was only one figure moving back and forth (depending on whether the first stimulus was bigger or smaller than the one presented next). For this illusion to work, the interval between the stimuli presented had to be of certain duration. If it was too short, the subjects would just see flickering. If it was too long, the subjects would get the impression of one figure being replaced by another. Critically, the optimal interval between the presentations of the stimuli needed to induce an impression of visual movement depended on the difference in size between the stimuli. The greater the size difference, the longer the interval had to be and, as the reader might have guessed by now, the critical inter-stimulus interval increased as a linear function of the size ratio. The similarity between induced visual apparent movement and size transformation of simultaneously presented figures suggests that subjects resolve differences in size between simultaneously presented figures as if they were differences in depth. That is, subjects seem to imagine (simulate) what would happen with one figure if it came closer to them. This is probably the explanation of why the mental size transformations recruit area V5 in the brain, which is specialized in processing visual motion, even when no movement is present. Subjects simply use the machinery in area V5, developed for the processing of motion, to transform the size of objects mentally. This is very similar to what people do when they use their motor cortex to simulate rotation 14 . Hence, we conclude that the sensory system is not only a simple input device for cognition but may actually drive some cognitive operations in the first place: cognition is embodied.
The case of semantics
Let s play the devil s advocate and make the following argument against the empirical examples of embodied cognition given above:
It may be that mental transformations are based, in part, on the brain s input (sensory) and output (motor) systems. But these operations are not really cognitive in the true sense of the word. Cognition only takes place when knowledge is either accessed during sensory processing or forms the basis of motor output. Neither requirement is really fulfilled in the examples of mental transformations because these operations apply to material that has no meaning at all. Mental transformations are simply too close to the processing carried out by the brain s sensory and motor systems to really count as cognitive operations. Moreover, mental transformations are only demonstrated in very artificial situations with artificial stimuli that do not in any way resemble what normal human beings would naturally be exposed to.
While we do not agree with such a narrow definition of what would count as a cognitive operation, let us for the sake of argument accept it and see if we can come up with more convincing evidence. Given that the narrow definition places knowledge as the core of cognition, we will seek evidence suggesting that even knowledge organization in the brain (termed semantics) is to some extent determined by motor functions.
In 1984, Warrington and Shallice presented four patients who exhibited a curious breakdown in their semantic knowledge. While these patients were generally able to identify and understand pictures and words referring to objects from the realm of artefacts (objects made by human beings, such as furniture, buildings, tools, etc.), they were markedly impaired when they had to identify pictures and understand words that belonged to the category of natural objects (such as animals, plants, etc.). To illustrate the specificity of the impairment, consider some of the definitions produced by one of the patients for the following pictures:

Umbrella: A tube used to provide protection against the rain.
Compass: Device to tell you the direction you are heading.
Shovel: Metal made tool for digging holes in the earth.
Giraffe: Bird, not sure what it is used for.
Frog: Bird with no arms.
Rhinoceros: Animal, can be used for eating.
Poppy: Plant/tree of some sort.
From these examples, it is clear why the deficits were termed category-specific semantic impairments by Warrington and Shallice. On their own, deficits of this type do not necessarily tell us much about the organization of semantic memory. They could arise if natural objects for some unknown reason just happened to be more difficult to identify in general. While this may in fact be true (see, e.g., Gerlach, Law et al. 2004), it does not amount to an exhaustive explanation, since the reverse impairment is also on record (for reviews, see Humphreys Forde 2001; Mahon Caramazza 2003). These patients have marked difficulties in recognizing pictures and understanding words referring to artefacts concurrently with relatively preserved knowledge of natural objects. This double-dissociation strongly suggests that knowledge may be categorically organized in the brain or, at the very least, that different categories are not processed in the same way. To understand what this has to do with embodiment, we need to consider how category-specific impairments for artefacts might arise. A clue to this can be found when we look at the site of the lesion(s) that are associated with this type of deficit.
One of the most agreed-upon models of visual perception divides visual processing into two general streams (Milner Goodale 1995). The ventral stream, which originates in the primary visual cortex, involves the ventral parts of the occipital and temporal cortex. This stream is primarily responsible for object recognition, that is, the matching of the visual impression with representations stored in visual long-term memory. The dorsal stream, which also originates in the primary visual cortex, involves the dorsal parts of the occipital cortex and the parietal lobes (see Fig. 3). This stream is responsible for visual action, that is, the operations necessary to locate objects in space in order to manually interact with objects. Perhaps, needless to say, this stream is intimately related to/forms a part of the system-subserving, goal-directed motor action.

Figure 3
In general, patients who suffer from lesions in areas belonging to the ventral stream may experience difficulties in recognizing objects they may nevertheless be able to locate in space and interact with (to some extent); this disorder is called visual agnosia. For patients with lesions in the areas belonging to the dorsal stream, the opposite is true. They may experience difficulties in handling objects which they may very well recognize (a disorder termed apraxia) or fail to locate the position of objects in space (Balint s syndrome). In normal subjects, these two streams clearly interact. Goal-directed action is much easier when you know what you are reaching for. Likewise, it may also be easier to recognize objects when you can tell how they might be handled - a central proposition we will return to below. While it is not entirely clear how or where this cross-talk between streams occurs, it is likely that the two streams converge in the frontal lobes. A region where the two streams might blend is the premotor cortex, situated just in front of the primary motor areas. As the name implies, this region is involved in motor operations and, more specifically, in the planning and comprehension of complex goal-directed actions (Rizzolatti Arbib 1998; Rizzolatti Fadiga 1998; Binkofski, Buccino et al. 1999). However, cells in this area discharge not only when objects are grasped, but also when objects are simply observed (Murata, Fadiga et al. 1997). Hence, cells in this region are driven by both vision and action and especially in combination.
All this talk of dorsal and ventral visual processing streams and their likely functions would, of course, be irrelevant to the present context if category-specific disorders did not to some extent map onto these streams, which they do. By and large, category-specific disorders related to natural objects seem to follow lesions to areas associated with the ventral pathway (the occipital-temporal region); whereas category-specific disorders related to artefacts seem to follow lesions to areas associated with the dorsal pathway (the frontoparietal region) (Gainotti 2002). On the one hand, this suggests that perceptual properties may be more important for the comprehension of natural objects compared to artefacts or, alternatively, that natural objects may be harder to differentiate perceptually than artefacts. On the other hand, it also appears that the comprehension of artefacts to some extent relies more on access to motor knowledge (knowledge of how things can and should be handled) than the comprehension of natural objects. This latter suggestion clearly has a bearing on embodiment as it suggests a link between bodily-rooted knowledge of object utilization and the (cognitive) act of comprehension. Before accepting that the existence of category-specific disorders for artefacts argues in favour of cognition being embodied, we need to address a few issues concerning the effect of category.
Firstly, we would like to know whether category-specific disorders for artefacts reveal anything about the cognitive architecture in normal subjects or whether they are simply a curiosity created by brain damage? The answer to this question is relatively clear: category effects can also be found in normal subjects. One of the most consistent findings from functional imaging (brain scans) of category specificity in normal subjects is that the processing of artefacts causes significantly greater activity in the premotor cortex than the processing of natural objects (Martin, Wiggs et al. 1996; Grafton, Fadiga et al. 1997; Grabowski, Damasio et al. 1998; Chao Martin 2000; Gerlach, Law et al. 2000; Gerlach, Law et al. 2002a). Moreover, this activation seems to reflect that the area is somehow involved in the act of comprehension (a semantic aspect) rather than just a motor priming effect arising because the motor system is preparing to act. If the premotor activation reflects a motor priming effect, we would expect this area always to light up when subjects are shown pictures of artefacts. This appears not to be the case as it does not occur during tasks in which subjects process the shapes of artefacts but only in tasks that necessitate access to semantics (e.g., picture naming and categorization) (Gerlach, Law et al. 2000; Gerlach, Law et al. 2002a). Having said this, it must be acknowledged that it is not entirely clear which type of semantic operation is handled by the premotor cortex (Gerlach, Law et al. 2002b). What does seem clear is that the premotor activation is not specific for artefacts per se, since the area also gets activated when people semantically process vegetables and fruit (Gerlach, Law et al. 2002a). Accordingly, the premotor area is probably recruited when objects are manipulable, and this just happens to be more frequent for artefacts than for natural objects.
Even though it remains to be established exactly what role the premotor area plays in the processing of manipulable objects (Gerlach, Law et al. 2002a), evidence from both brain-damaged patients and functional imaging with normal subjects suggests that action knowledge, which is mediated in part by the premotor cortex, does contribute to comprehension. This is a clear case in favour of embodied cognition as it suggests relatively direct links between bodily-based knowledge and high-level cognition (semantics). Thus, even faced with a very narrow definition of what counts as cognition, we are still forced to conclude that at least some cognitive operations are embodied. That this appears to be the case even for the act of categorization is especially interesting, given that the received view in linguistics for more than two centuries has been that the categories by which we describe the world are transcendental, that is, beyond the vulgarities of the specific organism doing the categorizing (Lakoff 1987). This is clearly not the case if they are occasionally embodied.
What is embodiment? In this chapter, we have focussed on biological instantiations of the phenomenon. We have analysed hypothetical as well as actual experiments to substantiate the claim of embodied cognition. In some instances, there seems to be a clear overlap between the arguments and examples given. Consider the distinction between the vocabulary of the interactional expert and the vocabulary of the contributory expert. On the surface, these vocabularies may seem identical in the sense that nobody can tell the interactional expert and the contributory expert apart based only on their verbal behaviour. Nevertheless, and as argued above, there is reason to believe that interactional and contributory experts do differ in cognitive terms - for instance, in linguistic memory. A similar argument can be made with respect to action knowledge and the comprehension of artefacts. Patients with apraxia (a breakdown in the performance of skilled movements) do know that hammers are used for driving nails in the wall but may nevertheless be unable to demonstrate how this is accomplished in reality: they know what for but not how to (Buxbaum Saffran 2002). Hence, while their verbal knowledge may seem intact - as they can tell what things are for, their knowledge of tools is impoverished compared with that of normal subjects. As an example, patients with apraxia may be able to tell which objects in figure 4 are similar in function (upper panel) but not which are similar in the manner of manipulation (lower panel). When scrutinised, similarly impoverished semantic representations are likely to be uncovered in interactional experts compared with contributory experts.

Figure 4
Throughout this chapter, we have aimed at demonstrating the existence of embodied cognition rather than presenting a full and particular account. Conveniently, we have refused to compare systematically and consequently to discuss any inconsistencies among different instances of embodied cognition. Certainly, there are differences. For one, biking as depicted here amounts to an overt motor activity, while the empirical studies are purely mental . What is more, by focusing on mental studies, some might find that we stretch the notion of embodiment (too far). How do we defend the conjecture that brain activity that usually sustains motor knowledge equals embodiment?
For instance, how can we be sure that the putative brain activity is a necessary precondition for the cognitive act referred to because of its involvement in motor activity in general? Are we certain that cortical activity normally correlative of motor knowledge is correlative of motor knowledge on all occasions? At least two assumptions seem to be in play.
First, we grant that the interpretation of activity in brain areas relating to for instance motor knowledge (when subjects solve mental tasks) rests exclusively on converging evidence from lesion studies. Second, we take motor knowledge to imply that motor activity is involved at some level. In fact, even if the first assumption were to be corroborated, the second would not follow by necessity.
Think of brains in a vat that had never been implemented in a body. It is conceivable that they would still employ motor areas when solving Shepard and Metzler s task of mental transformation.
However, to drive the argument home that mental transformation and cognitive tasks are embodied because they are sustained by motor knowledge, we distinguish between natural and logical possibilities.
To illustrate this distinction: both a cubic mile of gold and a cubic mile of uranium-235 seem to be logically possible, but as far as we know, only the first is naturally possible - a (stable) cubic mile of uranium-235 could not exist in our world (Chalmers 1996, 37).
By analogy, we cannot conceive of a brain that has never actually engaged in real life interactions -much less so, as it could not subsist outside the body. In conclusion, we admit that embodied cognition as presented here is heterogeneously defined and welcome any complementary analysis on the issue.
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1 Thanks to Professor Harry Collins for fruitful discussions on interactional and contributory expertise.
2 Despite extensive use of biking as an archetypical example of implicit cognition, it might invoke erroneous beliefs about implicitness and bodily foundations. We are fully aware of instances of knowledge (implicit or explicit) without overt physical elements of action, but for the sake of clarity refrain from addressing the differences in this chapter. Here, the interest is exclusively on the bodily part of biking and not on putative social aspects.
3 In this context, body refers to limbs and other body parts sustaining actual biking.
4 Almost the same scenario as the famous brain in a vat composition in which evil neuroscientists are thought to transfer brains to a vat and hook it up to computers overnight.
5 The idea is not that farfetched, as shown by the current promotion in the lifestyle industry of electric muscle stimulators (originally for medical purposes) targeted to stimulate motor nerves to cause a muscle contraction.
6 In Collins (2000), a Vietnam veteran has his brain loaded with the knowledge of a champion tennis player but does not have the constitution to act like one and thus lacks what Collins names embodied knowledge .
7 Biological traits have not evolved intentionally. They have come about incrementally to ensure reproductive success.
8 An animal order including lemurs, tarsiers, monkeys, apes and human beings.
9 Reproductive fitness.
10 Innate characteristics are species-specific. Biologically speaking, it means that all members of the species are equally equipped and equally responsive.
11 We have to assume that the amount of time spent thinking about the topic while in the lab is not mistaken for the additional effect of bodily engagement.
12 This is not to say that elderly people have lost the ability to think creatively because of age. Creativity originates from other sources, one of which is, in fact, experience and the resulting breadth of view.
13 The question of what interactional knowledge specifically refers to is very interesting. Is it mainly abstract notions without mental images or are most ideas, however vague, connected to former experiences and previous perceptions?
14 One might speculate that visual size transformations could also rely - in part - on motor areas. This would not be unlikely if subjects imagined moving towards or away from an object, rather than the object moving nearer or farther away from them. To our knowledge, this proposition has not been empirically tested.
Chapter 2 Learning in the light of the first-person approach
By Reinhard Stelter 1
T he intention of this chapter is to unfold and present the experiential or first-person perspective as a source of the individual s deeper understanding of his/her interplay with a specific context and environment. This perspective will be connected to the concept of the lived body. Embodied knowledge expressed from the first-person perspective can be seen as the basis for personal and social meaning-making and as an important dimension for the building of communities of practice. Only through the understanding of each others experiences, thoughts, reflections, values, motives and aims are we able to build up well-functioning learning and working communities.
To the sensing body, no thing presents itself as utterly passive or inert. Only by affirming the animate-ness of perceived things do we allow our words to emerge directly from the depths of our ongoing reciprocity with the world . (Abram 1996).
There is a growing interest in the human body in areas like cognitive science, social science, psychology and human development (e.g. Lakoff Johnson 1999; Leder 1990, 1992; Sheet-Johnstone 1992; Shilling 1993; Stam 1998; Varela, Thompson Rosch 1991).
This trend towards the body can be related to some of the following areas or research fields:
Phenomenological thinking , which puts focus on the lived body as a central source for experience and perception, is receiving growing attention in different research areas (such as psychology, psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, anthropology, philosophy) and is even finding its place in the hard core science of neuro-research.
In social science there is a growing interest in body politics , a notion which takes into account the role of the body in impression management and social diversity.
In feminism ,as an important focus area of social science, researchers are interested in the sexed and gendered bodies, that is, in the manifestation of gender difference which can be traced back to specific bodily manifestations in the interaction between women and men.
In therapeutic practice , body experience is established as the attentive focus in the therapeutic process, where this experiential awareness is seen as the source of reflections on the individual s mental status quo and as the basis for developmental processes in therapy.
In Buddhist practice ,which is of growing interest in western society, the focus is on bodily experiences as the basis for meditation.
Finally, a reaction to some fundaments of social constructionism can be noted in the literature (e.g. Searle 1992; Stam 1998, 2001, 2002); voices that call for an experiential and embodied basis of being. Sampson (1998), for example, changed his exclusively social constructionist-oriented standpoint in the following way:
Social constructionism includes history, culture and community, yet for the most part shares with the dominant tradition an exclusion of the body, other than the same ocularcentric object-body. It engages in discourses about this body and how it is constructed in history, culture and community, but does not engage in embodied discourses. What is needed, I argue, is a genuinely inclusive discourse that not only addresses the inherently historical, cultural and communal character of human endeavour, but its inherently embodied character as well. (Sampson 1998, p. 35).
Also in the field of learning, the body is receiving growing recognition as a central domain for the understanding of what happens in these processes of change and development. Beside other factors, this new orientation can be connected to a re-emerging interest in the experiential dimension of learning (Dewey 1963) and in general to a change in the orientation of what is defined as and understood by learning and education (Bruner 1996; Lave Wenger 1991). But the search for literature on body and learning is not very successful if the focus is turned away from areas like motor learning and skill development (e.g. Schmidt 1991). With this lack of literature in mind, it seems worthwhile to concentrate our attention on the bodily foundations for the process of learning and developing.
Body-anchored experiencing and learning do not only relate to learning in the field of sport and movement, an obvious area for our investigation; furthermore, body-anchored experiencing and learning can be defined as an experiential person-environment interplay towards change, which has its point of departure in the sensuous basis of bodily perceptions.
The intention of this chapter is to unfold and present the experiential or first-person perspective as a source of the individual s deeper understanding of his/her interplay with a specific context and environment. This perspective will be connected to the concept of the lived body , which can be seen as the basis for the understanding of experience and perception. The ideas presented take their point of departure in a concept of situated action as a function of person and environment. The first-person perspective will be assessed as an important prerequisite for sensual and embodied experiencing and further on for body-anchored learning.
The first-person perspective
In the following section I would like to present an understanding of what in various disciplines is called first-hand accounts , first-person access , introspection , phenomenal data , or lived experience . In my understanding, the concept of the first-person perspective has a clear connection to the lived and experiencing body - an understanding which is theoretically based on phenomenology and which in the course of this contribution and my further chapters in this volume will be presented as the key to the understanding of body-anchored learning.
The central orientation is that the first-person account is the basis for the creation of meaning which expresses the relatedness of the individual to specific material, social and cultural contexts. In that sense, first-person accounts are not person-centred, but are oriented towards an interactive and circular concept, which blends the individual with the situation - more about this later in the chapter.
For the further investigation of the first-person approach, let me go back to the inspiration received from sources outside my own basic research area and field of practice: I read about a meeting of the neuroscientist Francisco Varela with the Dalai Lama, which was part of a seminar on destructive emotions (Goleman 2003). In his presentation, Varela expressed the necessity of first-person access for the further development of neuroscience. The reason for this suggestion is to reduce the explanatory gap between the computational and phenomenological mind - to use a term of Jackendoff (1987). The research perspective in regard to this new orientation is the possible understanding of how neuronal activity becomes subjective experience (see also Fenwick 2000). Depraz, Varela and Vermersch (2003) express the need for first-person data as follows:
Specially, we are referring to the need for first-person data in cognitive neurosciences, the need for reduction as a concrete and embodied praxis in phenomenology, the need for introspection in cognitive psychology, the need for various know-hows in a wide range of psychotherapies, and the need for various spiritual practices which highlight the examination of consciousness and the practice of effortless effort . (Depraz et al. 2003, p. 3).
Initial steps are being taken in neuroscience, where the first-person perspective opens up for a deeper understanding of what is seen through different forms of visual representation via PET, SPET or MRI scanning (see Varela 1997).
The following documentation seeks to show that the first-person approach is not entirely new as a reasonable and useful standpoint in research and applied work:
In psychology and psychotherapy we find approaches where a deeper understanding through immediate and embodied experience is the pathway to the understanding of psychological processes. The prototype for such an approach is focusing , developed by Eugene Gendlin (1981, 1996, 1997). In this psychotherapeutic approach the felt sense or felt meaning of a specific situation, person or activity is the entrance to and anchor of the client s developmental or psychotherapeutic process. Also, the approach of mindfulness (Brown Ryan 2003; Germer, Siegel Fulton 2005; Langer 2002), where the perceptual and non-judgmental focus is on the here-and-now of the situation, seems to support first-person access in a similar way.
Learning theories and educational approaches that can be related to the idea of the first-person access have existed for about a century, for example, the German Arbeitsschulmethode (Kerschensteiner 1966; Winch 2006), experiential learning (Dewey 1963; www.wilderdom.com/Experiential.html ), Outward Bound (Ewert 1989; Fletcher 1971; Hahn 1958), and different reform-pedagogical approaches (Freinet 1967; Montessori 1949). In these pedagogical theories and concepts the immediate experience of the pupil or student in the learning environment is - in one way or the other - the starting point for the learning process.
In the area of sport psychology and stress management several techniques are used to prepare for challenging performances or for handling stressful situations (e.g. Hardy, Jones Gould 1996). Different first-person approaches like relaxation and imagery have been introduced to psychological training of athletes and other clients. Many of these techniques work with a specific awareness of the body. In progressive relaxation (Jacobsen 1938) the focus is on the change between tensing and relaxing of specific muscles or muscle groups. It is a very easy-to-learn technique, where success is within reach for nearly all participants involved in the training. In autogenic training and therapy (Schultz Luthe 1959), achievement of a detached but alert state of mind called passive concentration is the basis of physical changes and mental development. Autogenic therapy consists of six basic focusing techniques: Heaviness in the limbs, warmth in the limbs, cardiac regulation, centring on breathing, warmth in the upper abdomen and coolness in the forehead. Autogenic training and therapy can be combined with biofeedback which is a training mode more often applied in sport psychological intervention (Blumenstein, Bar-Eli Tenenbaum 2002). A frequently used mental training strategy in applied sport psychology is imagery training and especially visual-motor-rehearsal (Sheikh Korn 1994). A considerable body of research on the relationship between imagery and athletic performance has emerged in the last decades. Both experimental and anecdotal evidence clearly demonstrate that imagery techniques can be a valuable tool in improving athletic performance. The athlete has to practise imagery training as regularly as the physical training (Cunning Hall 2002). First, the basics of visualisation have to be adapted and later on, the technique has to be applied in situ.
In complementary and alternative medicine many of these body techniques have long been known. Particularly in the continental European psychosomatic medicine and psychiatry, attention has been drawn for many years to the first-person perspective, especially with a focus on body awareness and experience (Blankenburg 1983; Br hler 1995; von Uexk ll 1991). Researchers in this field have become aware of the lived body as a key for the description of the dynamic relationship between the individual and his/her environment - thereby paving the path towards a deeper understanding of illness, psychosomatic and psychological disorders. The growing awareness of the body is also applied in mindfulness, an embodied intentional orientation of paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally (Kabat-Zinn 1994, p. 4) where the focus is on the cultivation of conscious awareness and attention from one moment to the next in an open, curious and accepting way (Germer 2005). There are a growing number of studies that indicate a positive effect of mindfulness intervention on a number of different disorders like stress, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis or myalgia (see for an overview: Baer 2003).
In the applied research in leadership and in organizational work there is a trend towards first-person access. As the entrance to an in-depth understanding of specific challenges a leader or an employee might be confronted with, a coach can help to sharpen the awareness of the person to be coached on personal and immediate, here-and-now experiences, which the person can connect to a specific situation. This personal access and attention on situated action might be the key for an understanding of the meaningfulness of these actions and for the development of new work strategies and personal well-being (Gallwey 2000; Stelter 2002, 2004, 2007; Whitmore 1992).
What is the first-person perspective?
Following Varela and Shear (1999, p. 1) first-person events are lived experience associated with cognitive and mental events (italics in the original). In their further presentation, they unfold the following three arguments for the benefits of the first-person approach and for the fact that lived experience is irreducible and cannot be derived from the third-person perspective, that is, the objective, scientific and empirically based standpoint:

First, to accept experience as a domain to be explored is to accept the evidence that life and mind include that first-person dimension which is a trademark of our ongoing existence. To deprive our scientific examination of this phenomenal realm amounts to either amputating human life of its most intimate domains, or else denying science explanatory access to it. In both cases the move is unsatisfactory.
Second, subjective experience refers to the level of the user of one s own cognitions, of intentions and doings, in everyday practices. The practical dimension is what makes interaction with third-person accounts possible in the first place (and not an abstract armchair description so familiar in philosophy of mind). Third, experience in human practices is the privileged entry point for change meditated by profession interventions of all kind, such as education and learning, sports training and psychotherapy (Varela Shear 1999, p. 4).
The first-person perspective can be characterized by the following features:
1. The first-person perspective is an embodied perspective . That means: cognition is situated, concrete and bodily based. This understanding can be connected to the fact that cognitive scientists are gradually changing their ideas about cognition - away from the traditional understanding of the mind as a form of computation towards the notion where sensory-motor coordination plays a central role for cognition and where the proper units of knowledge are primarily concrete, embodied , lived (Depraz, Varela, Vermersch 2003, p. 156; italics in the original). For this new understanding Varela, Thompson and Rosch (1991) introduced the phrase cognition as enaction . Levin (1985, p. 49) writes: The body of feeling as we experience it, as we live it, integrates what objective thought would divide (italics in the original).
2. Via immediate, sensuous experience and perceptually guidedness , the first-person perspective allows the individual to gain access to him/herself and the world, in a way that goes beyond representational and reflective knowledge. The first-person perspective is a comprehensive process based on an analogue mode of information processing; an analogue mode, which in a process of verbal communication has to be transformed into a digital and sequential mode - with all the barriers and hurdles which are involved in this transformation process (Stelter 2000).
3. Primarily, the first-person perspective only gives access to pre-reflective and implicit knowledge . In general, this lack of linguistic explicitness is the challenge regarding the accessibility of the embodied first-person knowledge. Historically, the experimental methods go back to introspection , first introduced into psychology by Wundt (1874) and lately further developed by Vermersch (1999), for example. During the 20th century, a number of other approaches to the study of phenomenal consciousness or of subjective experience arose (see an overview in Stevens 2000).
4. The sensual perspective also implies that first-person access has a direct relation to concrete or imaginative actions in a specific situation . Following the approach of Varela, Thomson and Rosch (1991), first-person access consists of perceptually guided and situated action: My body enacts the situation and constitutes my self as a part of the context long before I am aware and conscious of myself or the situation. The sensual attention is the first step towards creating a personal understanding evolving from the interplay between the self and one s environment.
5. First-person access generates personal meaning . Meaning is based on the person s interpretation and understanding of the concrete situation. The person perceives and creates his or her personal reality by having a relation to the world and by giving a specific meaning to the context - a meaning which arises out of previous experiences and personal history, and which evolves as the result of a concrete action of the person in relation to the specific environmental context. Meaning is created through involvement and action in world . In this concept of meaning, the lived body is the central point of reference (Merleau-Ponty 1962). By embodying the world around us or by interiorizing the environment, things become meaningful .
6. The first-person perspective is often oriented towards knowing-how (Ryle 1949). This means: I am involved in the situation; I am perceptually guided by the immediate flow of my action. I relate to the situation via my pre-reflective or practical intentionality . I do not think about rules for the execution of my action; things happen while doing. It is a spontaneous and non-discursive knowing - I just know how to proceed. My actions are part of my sensory-motor habits. I develop a situated and tacit knowledge which helps me through my daily routines, which helps me feel more self-secure in my everyday life, and which finally builds up an expertise in my occupational life, especially when I am working in fields like handicrafts, architecture, music, sports, surgery, or nursing.
7. For the establishment of a method for the investigation of the first-person perspective we have to introduce a mediator or facilitator who is eccentric to the lived and embodied first-person position. A person in this so-called second-person position gives up explicitly his/her detachments to become identified with the kind of understanding and internal coherence of his source (Varela Shear 1999, p. 10). It is a role taken by, for example, a skilful interviewer, who helps the interviewee in the first-person position in the process of transforming lived experiences of the interviewee s lifeworld into verbal descriptions. A person in the second-person position is a kind of coach or active listener who helps support the partner in the first-person position by helping to sharpen his/her awareness of the interplay between him- or herself and the situation (Stelter 2002, 2004, 2007). Varela and Shear (1999) emphasize that second-person mediation is not a position of scientific journals, but merely a position supporting the developmental and experiential process of a person in a first-person position. In that sense, the second-person position is a position of communicative interaction and practice. Finally, the first and second-person positions can be differentiated from the third-person position , which can be associated with the traditional position of scientific discourse. It is a position where the scientist takes an external standpoint towards an objective and distant observer who is not directly involved in the field of investigation. This third-person position does not exist in fields of practice such as teaching, training, supervision, mentoring, coaching or psychotherapy.
By providing knowledge about the first-person approach and its importance for human understanding, I do not want to emphasize spiritual self-realization through different body techniques. My intention is to integrate the first-person position with the second-person position, thereby opening up for a relational understanding in social contexts. In my understanding, the first-person position opens up for two dimensions: first, as a central starting point for first-hand accounts in the scientific process, and second, as an important communicative entrance to different developmental and learning-oriented processes, for example, in psychotherapy, coaching, training, or education. In that sense, first-person accounts give access to the world of narratives (Crossley 2000; Freeman 1998). Every narrative is based on personal experiences and first-person accounts, which are the basis for the interaction with others in a specific social and cultural setting. First-person accounts focus on situated action and express personal meaningfulness with these actions. In a community of practice (Wenger 1998), individual actions and personal accounts are coordinated and integrated in the actions and speech acts of all participants. In that sense, we can speak about a coordinated management of meaning (Pearce Cronen 1980). In their book of the same title, Pearce and Cronen describe how people - through language and action - are able to build up their social world and their situated reality. The following quote expresses the fundamental difference between meaning and action : The locus for meaning in communication is intra personal, but the locus of action is inter personal (Pearce Cronen 1980, p. 148; italics in the original). Individuals act on the basis of their personal understanding of the situation and by using specific rules they are in a position to act adequately in relation to the contextual demands. Coordination focuses on ways of integrating our actions and of forming action patterns which are the basis for a fruitful cooperation in a group of originally independent individuals. Coherence can emerge through narratives formed and developed in a process of negotiation of the participants in the community of practice and as the integration of different first-person accounts or intrapersonal meanings in the process of situated actions.
How do we gain access to first-person accounts?
There are certain difficulties in gaining access to first-person accounts, which are - as described - often pre-reflective, body-anchored and part of our tacit knowledge (Polanyi 1966). We know how things work and how to proceed, but the felt sense of our actions and of our relationship to the world we live in is initially pre-linguistic or non-discursive . At its origin, the first-person perspective is simply given and anchored in the lived body and in the situation in which the person is embedded. Personal accounts and self-experiences are bodily based and always connected to practice . Here, the person and the environment are interwoven. In the normal flow of life, the person often expresses his/her relatedness to the environment through actions , which are often exclusively based on practical intentionality, on a knowing-how .
But as soon as the individual is confronted with a second-person perspective - a totally normal situation in our social life, for example, at work, in school, communication, sport or therapy - the individual s practice - at first pre-reflective and habitual - is and has to be coordinated with social others who are involved in the setting. In many everyday life and working situations, being in practice, cooperating with each other and finding words for one s thoughts, feeling, ideas, strategies etc. go mostly hand in hand . Lave and Wenger (1991) speak about situated learning in a community of practice , a concept which will be presented in more detail later in this chapter.
In a community of practice, words and oral accounts do not always need to be too specific, because they are embedded in practice itself. They are often only intelligible and meaningful while doing things in the community of practice. But there are situations (e.g., being interviewed, in teaching and teamwork) where it is beneficial or necessary that the first person perspective becomes articulated, explicit and discursive.
Despite the best intentions, it is often not easy to find the right words for our pre-conceptual and body-anchored experiences. Before these experiences or first-person accounts can be verbalized they have to go through a transformation process. In this process, the originally implicit meaning - evolving while being actively involved in the situation - becomes explicit or discursive (Stelter 2000). The following quote from Stevens (2000) describes the challenges and difficulties in communicating first-person experiential and implicit knowledge to another person:
If I wish to communicate to you an experience I have had, I can only do it through some system of symbolic forms, probably words. But, there are serious difficulties here for a listener who wants to understand what I am expressing. It is not a simple question of getting the record of the actual words I use or have in mind. It is about knowing what meanings they signify (i.e., about the meaning systems they relate to). One problem here is that communication depends on the experiencers ability to express themselves: how articulate, how skilled and expressive they are in the use of language. Another is that the words used relate to a diffuse network of semantic assemblies both for the speaker and the listener: even if we attempt to articulate a particular cluster, where do we begin and stop? Thirdly, we depend on the researcher s or listener s ability to reconstruct or interpret what is heard. We share understanding with the speaker only in so far as we have equivalent semantic systems (and ones related to similar linguistic tags) which can be stimulated in us. (Stevens 2000, p. 115).
Certainly, there are these challenges. Some of the prejudices and subsequent difficulties of giving voice to embodied experiences are probably the result of a latent rationalism in our culture and society and of a continuous notion of the human body as a kind of machine and the brain as a kind of computer. Furthermore, we can find a number of examples in several scientific disciplines against a phenomenological and experientially based understanding of the body (see e.g. Fuchs 2000). But there are also concrete procedures that open up for in-depth work with the personal experience and first-person accounts. Earlier in this contribution, Eugene Gendlin (1981, 1996, 1997), a phenomenologist and psychotherapist, was mentioned as the exponent of an experiential method which aims to overcome the obstacles described above. Gendlin s approach builds a bridge from pre-conceptual and body-anchored experiencing over symbolizing towards verbalizing - a method he calls focusing (see also chapter 5 in this book).
The lived body as the basis for experience and perception
In the following section, some theoretical reflections on an experience-based understanding of the body will be highlighted. These reflections are the basis, first, for a thorough insight into the first-person perspective and, second, for an applied perspective presented in the chapter Approaches to enhance body-anchored and experience-based learning (see also chapter 9 in this book).
From a phenomenological standpoint, Merleau-Ponty (1962, p. 144) defines the body as a mediator to the world and our anchor in the world. He writes further (p. 205): External perception and the perception of one s own body vary in conjunction because they are the two facets of one and the same act. And he continues (p. 206): Every external perception is immediately synonymous with a certain perception of my body, just as every perception of my body is made explicit in the language of external perception.
This conceptual understanding makes it possible to overcome the dualism between mind and nature and between the inner and outer world. However, Waldenfels (1985, 163) notes that duality is still a part of our life concept: I have my body and at the same time I am my body. The understanding of the concept of the human body is - as Madison (1981, p. 24) states - a strange mixture of being-in-itself and being-for-itself. Merleau-Ponty (1962) is conscious of this ambiguity or rather, circularity, when stating:
The union of soul and body is not an amalgamation between two mutually external terms, subject and object, brought up by arbitrary decree. It is enacted at every instant in the movement of existence. (Merleau-Ponty 1962, pp. 88-89).
It is due to Sheets-Johnstone (1999) that experience and perception are highlighted as embodied in movement . Movement seems to be the concept where the body as an object and the body as a subject appear to be integrated. In that sense, we could argue that Sheets-Johnstone (1999) goes a step further than Merleau-Ponty in her phenomenological thinking, when she aims to elucidate both the experience and foundations of thinking in movement (p. 483). Essential to her integrative approach is a non-separation of thinking and doing (p.

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