EMBODIED COGNITION

Proponents of embodied cognition argue that just as the mind influences the body, so the body can influence the mind. In other words, the body plays a crucial role in cognitive processing. The founders of this school of thought, George Lakoff and Rafeal Núñez explain this by saying that "[the mind] arises from the nature of our brains, bodies, and bodily experiences ... The very structure of reason itself comes from the details of our embodiment." In relation to the connection between the mind and body, they go on to say that "the very structure of reason itself comes from the details of our embodiment." This statement means that our cognition is affected, and even determined by, our physical world as well as our physical experiences.

Having a counter-intuitive idea, dualism, put forth by Rene Descartes in the 17th century, claims just the opposite, arguing that  “There is a great difference between mind and body ... The mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body.” However, according to embodied cognitive science, this is not true. In contrast, our reasoning, according to George Lakoff, is immensely affected by our bodies. The facilitative role of gestures in communication, the body movements during feedback, the use of our bodies when performing cognitive tasks, such as thinking, are all indicators of the embodied cognitive system.

Pedagogical implications of embodied cognition can be the extended use of explicit and experience-based instruction, which could have a mediating role in learning processes. The unity of body and cognition might serve as a scaffolding tool, which helps promote gross and fine motor skills as well as cognitive functioning.

 

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Muhammed Özgür YAŞAR

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