Embodied Cognition at the Crossroads of
Philosophy, Linguistics, Psychology and Artificial Intelligence

May 13-15, 2021, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA

Section 12A


12A: Applying embodiment to psychological issues



Saturday 15/5, 18:30-19:30



Alexandra Georgescu

Affiliation: King's College London
Title: Reduced Nonverbal Interpersonal Synchrony in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Abstract: Background: One of the main diagnostic features of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are nonverbal behaviour difficulties during naturalistic social interactions. The “Interactional Heterogeneity Hypothesis” of ASD proposes that the degree with which individuals share a common ground substantially influences their ability to achieve smooth social interactions. Methods: To test this hypothesis, we filmed 29 autistic and 29 matched typically developed adults engaged in several conversational tasks. Windowed cross-lagged correlations were computed using the time series of motion energy of both individuals in a dyad. These coefficients were then compared across the three dyad types that were homo- or heterogenous with respect to diagnosis: pairs of two autistic individuals, two typically developed individuals or pairs of one autistic and one typically developed person. Results: We found that all dyad types achieved above-chance interpersonal synchrony, but that synchrony was more expressed in typical dyads compared to both autistic and mixed dyads. Conclusions: The present results do not provide support for the “Interactional Heterogeneity Hypothesis” given that autistic individuals do not coordinate better when interacting with another autistic individual, compared to when interacting with a typical individual. Ongoing research on using computer vision algorithms instead of motion energy and machine learning algorithms to classify autism based on individual and interpersonal movement measures are also discussed.


Ionut-Sergiu Mone, Oana Benga

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Developmental Psychology Laboratory
Title: The relationship between education, agency, and socialization goals in a sample of mothers of preschoolers
Abstract: The ecocultural model of development (Keller & Kartner 2013) states that mothers` cultural model mediates the relationship between their educational level and their socialization goals. Cultural models refer to beliefs shared by members of a community, and they result from the combination of two dimensions: agency and interpersonal distance (Kagitcibasi, 2017). Moreover, both agency and interpersonal distance are made up of explicit and implicit components. In the present study, we focused on how the explicit and the implicit components of the agency dimension are related to mothers` educational level and socialization goals. The results on this sample (N = 141) suggest that there was a significant indirect effect of mothers` educational level on their heteronomous socialization goals through the implicit component of the agency dimension, namely attributional style. The higher the mothers` educational level, the more they attributed other individuals` behavior internally and the less they valued socialization goals focused on heteronomy. Moreover, the results suggest that the implicit component of agency is related to mothers` socialization goals, while the explicit component is not. This is in concordance with research showing that the implicit components of individuals` cultural models can be better used to differentiate between individuals from different cultures.


Doris Rogobete, Roxana Mateiu-Vescan, Alexandra Marian, Thea Ionescu

Affiliation: Babes-Bolyai Univeristy, Department of Psychology, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Title: The embodied road to media multitasking
Abstract: The importance of considering non-cognitive aspects, such as the body and the environment, when discussing about cognition has resurfaced in the context of recent research concerning technology and media effects. The main objective of the present study is to approach the ways in which technology influences the development of concepts and knowledge about the world in the first years of life. We also aim to discuss the way in which this experience contributes to media effects observed later in life. Studies concerning the relationship between technology/ media use and individual functioning and development tend to consider the individual’s mind as the relevant object of study. However, post-cognitivist approaches, such as the „grounded cognition” view, postulate that cognition is frequently grounded in multiple ways, such as simulations, sensory-motor systems, situated action, bodily states (Barsalou, 2008) and even contextual information about the environment (Barsalou, 2010). It is therefore important to consider that the body interposes between the individual’s mind and the technological device with which he/she interacts at a certain point in a certain environment (Aagard, 2015). Further, cognition in this approach does not refer strictly to thinking – the important role of perceiving and acting for cognition must be recognized, and therefore we must include the non-cognitive in the definition of cognition (Ionescu & Vasc, 2014). Therefore, we argue that, when interacting with the environment by way of a digital device, the whole quality of experience is changed. This technically mediated interaction with the world (Aagard, 2015), as it unfolds in the lives of media exposed children, is qualitatively different from the non-mediated interaction with the surroundings in the lives of those who are not exposed to media and technology very early in development. This is relevant considering the important role physical exploration and sensory-motor information play in the formation of early concepts and understanding of the world (Pereira, Smith & Yu, 2014). Further, this early interaction with media contributes to the formation of a technology-related embodied habit (Aagard, 2015) – “a bodily sediment of [technology related] past activity, which dynamically guides our present activity without determining it” (Crossley, 2001 in Aagard, 2015). As a result, our way of perceiving and experiencing the world in the present will be dynamically linked to our early technology-related experiences, leading to the observed media effects so often attributed to the mind alone.


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