Research Topic

The Next Step in Developmental Embodiment Research: Integrating Concepts and Methods

About this Research Topic

Embodiment has become a key concept in human life sciences. However, evaluations of the field's progress repeatedly diagnosed a huge variety of embodiment concepts among research areas and theoretical schools, even within the field of human life sciences. Consequently, inter- and transdisciplinary conceptualizations of embodiment as well as practical collaborations face the problem of having to integrate data across different levels, data modalities, and types of knowledge production.
An important factor contributing to this challenge is the fact that developmental processes underlying embodiment phenomena are rarely studied, despite their significance for the mechanisms under study. Instead, the focus lies either on the biological embedding of experiences (e.g. epigenetic modifications, neural network formations), or the use of embodied information (e.g. sensory-motor representations, interoceptive signals) for action planning, cognition, and emotion. How these aspects relate to one another, i.e. how biologically embedded experiences (e.g. stress-induced epigenetic modifications) affect the use of embodied information (e.g. during multi-sensory integration for decision making), and how they are affected by lifespan dynamics (e.g. experiential learning and physiological aging in the context of motor and language development) are rarely addressed.

With this Research Topic, we aim at overcoming this divide by inviting theoretical and empirical contributions targeting the developmental dynamics of embodiment phenomena. We suggest that a developmental perspective on embodiment can integrate embodiment concepts and related data, to gain new insights in the phenomena under study, and to open new avenues for interdisciplinary embodiment research.

We welcome contributions focusing on the different biological levels of embodiment (e.g. genetic/epigenetic, neural, sensory/motor, behavioral, psychosocial), times-scales (life-span vs. current state), or developmental dynamics (critical and sensitive periods, aging), and which may cross disciplinary boundaries. Potential contributions may:

1. Discuss approaches for an integrative framework of developmental embodiment research;
2. Represent examples of developmental embodiment research (e.g. social and developmental neuroscience, movement studies, language development studies, computational psychosomatics, epigenetics of stress and social adversity, and human-centered robotics);
3. Target conceptual challenges (e.g. different notions of embodiment and development across disciplines), technological obstacles (data integration, big data, and bioscience), and practical applications (e.g. psychiatric practice, sports and rehabilitation, education, robotics).

Articles in the form of Original Research, Reviews and Perspectives related to the above topics will be considered in this Research Topic.


Keywords: Embodiment, Lifespan development, Epigenetics, Interoception, Embodied cognition


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Embodiment has become a key concept in human life sciences. However, evaluations of the field's progress repeatedly diagnosed a huge variety of embodiment concepts among research areas and theoretical schools, even within the field of human life sciences. Consequently, inter- and transdisciplinary conceptualizations of embodiment as well as practical collaborations face the problem of having to integrate data across different levels, data modalities, and types of knowledge production.
An important factor contributing to this challenge is the fact that developmental processes underlying embodiment phenomena are rarely studied, despite their significance for the mechanisms under study. Instead, the focus lies either on the biological embedding of experiences (e.g. epigenetic modifications, neural network formations), or the use of embodied information (e.g. sensory-motor representations, interoceptive signals) for action planning, cognition, and emotion. How these aspects relate to one another, i.e. how biologically embedded experiences (e.g. stress-induced epigenetic modifications) affect the use of embodied information (e.g. during multi-sensory integration for decision making), and how they are affected by lifespan dynamics (e.g. experiential learning and physiological aging in the context of motor and language development) are rarely addressed.

With this Research Topic, we aim at overcoming this divide by inviting theoretical and empirical contributions targeting the developmental dynamics of embodiment phenomena. We suggest that a developmental perspective on embodiment can integrate embodiment concepts and related data, to gain new insights in the phenomena under study, and to open new avenues for interdisciplinary embodiment research.

We welcome contributions focusing on the different biological levels of embodiment (e.g. genetic/epigenetic, neural, sensory/motor, behavioral, psychosocial), times-scales (life-span vs. current state), or developmental dynamics (critical and sensitive periods, aging), and which may cross disciplinary boundaries. Potential contributions may:

1. Discuss approaches for an integrative framework of developmental embodiment research;
2. Represent examples of developmental embodiment research (e.g. social and developmental neuroscience, movement studies, language development studies, computational psychosomatics, epigenetics of stress and social adversity, and human-centered robotics);
3. Target conceptual challenges (e.g. different notions of embodiment and development across disciplines), technological obstacles (data integration, big data, and bioscience), and practical applications (e.g. psychiatric practice, sports and rehabilitation, education, robotics).

Articles in the form of Original Research, Reviews and Perspectives related to the above topics will be considered in this Research Topic.


Keywords: Embodiment, Lifespan development, Epigenetics, Interoception, Embodied cognition


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 October 2020 Abstract
31 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 October 2020 Abstract
31 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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