Embodied Cognitive Science Unit (Tom Froese)

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. 

Senses we study on

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

  • New paper out! (2023-02-02)

    Natalya Weber

    Natalya recently presented and published her work in IEEE. Most research on the self-optimization model has focused on network sizes on the order of a hundred nodes. This paper demonstrates that the process can be scaled up over several orders of magnitude with comparable results. Link to paper here.



    Scaling up the self-optimization model by means of on-the-fly computation of weights

  • New preprint out! Brains and bees! (2022-10-31)

    Ivan Shpurov

    Ivan has been working with bees and he presents his latest work in this new preprint which suggests commonalities between neural activity in the brain and collective behaviour in honey bees.

    Full preprint PDF access here



    Evidence of Critical Dynamics in the Honey Bee Swarm

  • Participating in the 28th EAJS symposium

    Dr. Froese will participate in the 28th East Asia Joint Symposium on Biomedical Research organized by Shanghai Institute for Advanced Immunochemical Studies at the Shanghai Tech University. He will give a talk on "Pandemic disorders of consciousness" within Neuroscience, psychoscience and aging Section on October 27th, 10:15 - 10:30 (Time zone: UTC+8). 

    More Information about the event is here