How do motoric realities shape, and become shaped by, the way people evaluate and select potential courses of action? Toward a unitary framework of embodied decision making

Daniel A. DeCaro, Michael Bar-Eli, Juliet A. Conlin, Adele Diederich, Joseph G. Johnson, Henning Plessner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Until recently, the constraints imposed on decision makers by the human physical condition - situated both as a physical agent and within physical space - have played only an incidental, if not entirely inconsequential, role in conceptualizations of human decision making. The act of deciding has been positioned as the quintessence of traditional decision theory, while actual enactment of the decided action within physical space by a corporal actor, with all that this entails, has been regarded as the obvious and, therefore, scientifically uninteresting result of having made up one's mind (cf. Bagozzi et al., 2003). However, recent discoveries made in the area of embodied cognition regarding the involvement of fundamentally motoric representations in long-presumed "cognitive" systems (Wilson, 2002) potentially turned conventional wisdom upside-down. In this chapter, we go beyond prominent theories of action selection and decision making to rethink the link between mind and body as it pertains to the relatively novel frontier of embodied decision making. In particular, we reconceptualize what it means to evaluate one's options in light of recent advancements in embodied cognition, motor control, and dynamic decision making. In the process, we provide a much needed account of the primary theoretical issues that any good account would seem to be impelled to address. Perhaps the greatest contribution provided by the present chapter is an organizing framework that we hope will guide future research to the eventual answer to what it means to be an embodied decision maker.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMind and Motion
Subtitle of host publicationThe Bidirectional Link between Thought and Action
EditorsMarkus Raab, Joseph Johnson, Hauke Heekeren
Pages189-203
Number of pages15
DOIs
StatePublished - 26 May 2009

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
Volume174
ISSN (Print)0079-6123

Keywords

  • decision making
  • embodied cognition
  • motor system

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