Embodied Cognitive Science Unit (Tom Froese)

Senses we study on

In this unit we pursue the implications of embodied cognitive science from the mind’s most basic expressions in adaptive behavior to its most complex manifestations in abstract thinking. Our interdisciplinary research is framed by a general interest in better understanding the major transitions from minimal cognition to human cognition, and our guiding insight is that changes in environmental mediation, especially sociocultural and technological mediation, have the potential to transform and potentiate the mind.

We employ a diversity of methods that are drawn from the intersection of computer science and complex systems theory: agent-based modeling, artificial neural networks, evolutionary robotics, time series analysis, virtual reality, sensory substitution interfaces, and human-computer interaction.

Listen to the October 2019 OIST Podcast “Embodied cognitive science with Professor Tom Froese”

What is the mind? Traditionally, cognitive science has approached this question in terms of the hypothesis of a physical symbol system: the mind/brain is a computer, and cognition is computation. More recent approaches to cognitive science have questioned the adequacy of this hypothesis and have begun to advance alternative frameworks that substantially broaden the basis of the mind, leading to the rise of embodied, embedded, extended, and enactive (4E) cognition. These approaches develop in different ways a shared core commitment to the claim that agent-environment interaction is a foundational part of cognition, rather than just a secondary product of cognition. Together these approaches are broadly known as embodied cognitive science.

Latest Posts

  • Workshop - Re-conceiving enaction as the irruption of consciousness

    Dr. Tom Froese will hold a small workshop on the need to reboot enactive cognitive science, and introduce an exciting new approach to the science of consciousness at the University Clinic Heidelberg on June 30th, 2022. More information here.


  • New paper out! (2022-04-13)

    Embodied Rationality Through Game Theoretic Glasses: An Empirical Point of Contact

    Sébastien Lerique

    The paper develops a game theoretic description of the Perceptual Crossing Paradigm, making it possible to evaluate how game theory currently accounts for -- or fails to account for -- the features of human behavior that Perceptual Crossing elicits. It then argues that Perceptual Crossing can now be used to empirically ground a debate between the enactive notion of embodied rationality and the classical notion of rationality-as-consistency.

  • New paper out! (2022-04-01)

    Scientific Observation Is Socio-Materially Augmented Perception: Toward a Participatory Realism

    Tom Froese

    We are thrilled to announce this new essay arguing for a realism more fit for our times!

    Key message: scientific observation is—like tool-use and perceiving more generally—irreducibly self, other-, and world-involving.

    Link to online paper