Thinking with friends: embodied cognition and relational attention in friendship

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Can research in situated and embodied cognition inform the study of interpersonal relations like friendship? And conversely, can friendship studies from disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives inspire research in cognitive science? These are the guiding questions for this chapter. Compared to cognition in animals, human cognition is situated in environments of cultural and societal systems, so the formation of a human self as a cognitive and emotional agent is a process involving distinct levels of embodied cognition, here called animate, anthropic and societal. Analysing friendship as a social cognitive phenomenon, and bringing together observations and concepts from interdisciplinary studies of interpersonal relationships allows for a notion of relational attention to be developed. At least for some forms of friendships, the agents not merely attend to common interests; their perception is shared, mediated by the very relationship as an embodied activity of distributed cognition. An important example of this is collaboration in science and art, as when friends or colleagues work close together to solve problems or develop new forms of creative expression.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCognitive Science: Recent Advances and Recurring Problems
EditorsFrederick Adams, Osvaldo Pessoa Jr. , João Eduardo Kogler Jr.
Number of pages12
PublisherVernon Press
Publication date2017
Pages47-58
Chapter3
ISBN (Print)978-1-62273-100-8
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ID: 182929080