Research Topic

Embodied Cognition over the lifespan: theoretical issues and implications for applied settings

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The Embodied Cognition approach is now a well-established perspective proposing a close link between perception and action in the world and cognitive activities, including those, such as conceptualization and language, which were traditionally considered as computation of symbols.

Despite the ...

The Embodied Cognition approach is now a well-established perspective proposing a close link between perception and action in the world and cognitive activities, including those, such as conceptualization and language, which were traditionally considered as computation of symbols.

Despite the surge of interest in Embodied Cognition, currently relatively few studies address its implications in a life-span perspective and its contribution to applied settings such education, healthy ageing or neuropsychological assessment.

Considerable literature on child development has emerged in the realm of Embodied Cognition, e.g. on motor simulation in semantic judgements, switching cost effects and the effect of action primes on object recognition in children. Furthermore, the Embodied literature on concepts, language and development is flourishing. One field in which Embodied Cognition can be naturally applied is education. In fact, recent developments suggest great potential for linking the Embodied Cognition theory and practice, however, overall these links remain vastly underexplored.

On the other side of the lifespan, the literature on ageing and Embodied Cognition is only starting to accumulate. Experimental evidence indicates concepts grounding in older adults and it is plausible to hypothesise that the natural degradation of the sensory systems accompanying ageing should bring changes in semantic activation.

The discovery of the mirror-neuron system and related work on motor resonance have provided new insights on rehabilitation of brain damaged patients, especially after stroke, and Parkinson’s patients. Nonetheless not as much attention has been devoted to construct new neurocognitive assessments to improve detection of early cognitive decline in an Embodied Cognition perspective.

Considering that Embodied Cognition is now a mature branch of Cognitive Science, this research topic aims at fostering the debate on Embodied Cognition across the lifespan and on its potential to improve cognitive health outcomes.

Specifically, the aim of this research topic is twofold. First, it intends to give an overall idea of studies inspired by an Embodied Cognition approach focusing on lifespan. We therefore encourage scientists focusing on different phases of the lifespan (developmental studies, studies on adolescents, studies on ageing etc.) to submit their proposals.

Second, we intend to focus on studies broadly inspired by Embodied approaches for research aimed at training and assessing cognitive capabilities and at improving cognitive health. We welcome authors who investigate or propose novel approaches aimed at promoting improvements in the educational settings, in clinical fields, as well as in supporting healthy ageing and early detection of cognitive decline.


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