A Lifespan Perspective on Embodied Cognition

Article English OPEN
Loeffler, Jonna ; Raab, Markus ; Cañal-Bruland, Rouwen (2016)
  • Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
  • Journal: Frontiers in Psychology (issn: 1664-1078, vol: 7)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00845, pmc: PMC4887461
  • Subject: developmental | Psychology | cognition | lifespan | elderly | sensorimotor | Perspective | embodiment

Since its infancy embodied cognition research has fundamentally changed our understanding of how action, perception, and cognition relate to and interact with each other. Ideas from different schools of thought have led to controversial theories and a unifying framework is still being debated. In this perspective paper, we argue that in order to improve our understanding of embodied cognition and to take significant steps toward a comprehensive framework, a lifespan approach is mandatory. Given that most established theories have been developed and tested in the adult population, which is characterized by relatively robust and stable sensorimotor and cognitive abilities, we deem it questionable whether embodied cognition effects found in this population are representative for different life stages such as childhood or the elderly. In contrast to adulthood, childhood is accompanied by a rapid increase of sensorimotor and cognitive skills, and the old age by a decline of such capacities. Hence, sensorimotor and cognitive capacities, as well as their interactions, are more fragile at both extremes of the lifespan, thereby offering a unique window into the emergence of embodied cognition effects and age-related differences therein. A lifespan approach promises to make a major contribution toward a unifying and comprehensive theory of embodied cognition that is valid across the lifespan and ‘gets better with age.’
  • References (48)
    48 references, page 1 of 5

    Adolph, K. E., and Avolio, A. M. (2000). Walking infants adapt locomotion to changing body dimensions. J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 26, 1148-1166. doi: 10.1037/0096-1523.26.3.1148

    Blanco, N. J., Love, B. C., Ramscar, M., Otto, A. R., Smayda, K., and Maddox, W. T. (2016). Exploratory decision-making as a function of lifelong experience, not cognitive decline. J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 145, 284-297. doi: 10.1037/xge00 00133

    Boncoddo, R., Dixon, J. A., and Kelley, E. (2010). The emergence of a novel representation from action: evidence from preschoolers. Dev. Sci. 13, 370-377. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00905.x

    Bradley, S. D. (2007). Dynamic, embodied, limited-capacity attention and memory: modeling cognitive processing of mediated stimuli. Media Psychol. 9, 211-239. doi: 10.1080/15213260709336810

    Bredesen, D. E. (2014). Reversal of cognitive decline: a novel therapeutic program. Aging 6, 707-717. doi: 10.18632/aging.100690

    Calero, M. D., and Navarro, E. (2007). Cognitive plasticity as a modulating variable on the effects of memory training in elderly persons. Arch. Clin. Neuropsychol. 22, 63-72. doi: 10.1016/j.acn.2006.06.020

    Casasanto, D. (2011). Different bodies, different minds: the body specificity of language and thought. Curr. Dir. Psychol. Sci. 20, 378-383. doi: 10.1177/0963721411422058

    Casasanto, D., and Henetz, T. (2012). Handedness shapes children's abstract concepts. Cogn. Sci. 36, 359-372. doi: 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2011.01199.x

    Chemero, A. (2011). Radical Embodied Cognitive Science (Reprint Edition). Cambridge, MA: A Bradford Book.

    Conson, M., Trojano, L., Vitale, C., Mazzarella, E., Allocca, R., Barone, P., et al. (2014). The role of embodied simulation in mental transformation of wholebody images: evidence from Parkinson's disease. Hum. Mov. Sci. 33, 343-353. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2013.10.006

  • Metrics
    No metrics available
Share - Bookmark