Chapter 8. Embodiment and Perception

How We Think

There are competing theories about how we experience our world. The traditional view of cognition is where our understanding of the world is largely metaphorical and the role of our bodies is more or less a vessel for our brains. There’s another theory called embodied cognition, or embodiment, that I find particularly compelling. This theory states that the body plays more of an integrated role in our cognitive process, as opposed to a mere vessel or tool that’s controlled by our brains. Embodiment theory claims that the relationship between our mind and our body is more of a two-way street whereby our physicality has more impact on our understanding of the world. This chapter discusses the unique opportunities that wearable devices present in relation to our perception of the world and how to build an understanding of that relationship.

Describing Our Minds

There’s a long history of describing both the composition of our bodies and the mechanics of our minds using metaphors based on the prevailing technology of that time. In his book In Our Own Image, George Zarkadakis outlines the history of these metaphors in great detail. Zarkadis begins with ancient Jewish and Greek creation myths wherein people were created from mud or clay, and gods would put souls in the clay sculptures to make people. The second paradigm began in the third century BC and influenced the following 16 centuries during which hydraulic pneumatic systems, ...

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