Volume 5: pp. 59-77

Resituating Cognition

by Peter R. Killeen,
Arizona State University

Arthur M. Glenberg,
Arizona State University
University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Cognition, historically localized in one part of the body—the heart in earlier times, the head in latter—involves the action of the organism as a whole: within and dependent upon the details of its physical and social environment. Recent experiments with humans, and classic ones with animals, reveal the essential role played by perceptual and motor acts in shaping the character of thought. Cognition is redefined in terms of Aristotle’s four causes: Occasioned by changes in the environment, its substrate is the nervous system—peripheral as well as central; it evolved to guide action, and may be represented as a special kind of automaton. Cognition is repositioned, from a species of mindwork to an activity pervading the body and the locale, without which it would be difficult to maintain, and would have been impossible to achieve.

Keywords: behaviorism, causation, cognitive science, embodied cognition, exocentric cognition, situated cognition

Killeen, P. R., & Glenberg, A. M. (2010). Resituating Cognition. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 5, 59-77. Retrieved from http://comparative-cognition-and-behavior-reviews.org/ doi:10.3819/ccbr.2010.50003