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Two Spanish chapters on cognitive ecology of education

Our research group contributed a couple of pieces to a volume about cognitive science and education.

Dr. Tom Froese

A volume edited by Ronnie Videla on steps toward a cognitive ecology of education was just published. I contributed a Preface to the book, and members of the 4E Cognition research group provided a Spanish translation of their recent technical report on studies with the Enactive Torch that appeared in TIES.

Prefacio: Sobre la necesidad de una ecología cognitiva de la educación

Tom Froese

El Enactive Torch: Aprendizaje interactivo y corporeizado a través de una interfaz de sustitución sensorial

Ximena González-Grandón, Héctor Gómez-Escobar, Leonardo Zapata-Fonseca, Guillermo Ortíz-Garín, Javier Flores, Ariel Sáenz-Burrola, and Tom Froese

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New paper on the Enactive Torch

Well done to Ariel and Leonardo for showing new lines of research that can be done with the Enactive Torch!

Dr. Tom Froese

Here is a paper on the Enactive Torch that resulted from a nice student project:

Quantification of movement patterns during a maze navigation task

Ariel Sáenz, Leonardo Zapata-Fonseca, Tom Froese, and Ruben Fossion

Homeostatic systems tend to have a preferred state that it can be referred as a healthy state in traditionally-known systems such as the cardiovascular system. Any deviation from this state has been linked to disease. Different types of variables interact within homeostatic systems. Recently it has been described 2; “regulated” and “regulating” variables both of them with specific statistics that correlate to their function in maintaining homeostasis. We stated in this study that perception and mastery of a task with a sensory substitution system can be viewed and studied in a similar manner as traditionally-known homeostatic systems. We propose and exemplified with 2 cases of study that the state of mastery, from a time series perspective, share…

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New article: On the spatiotemporal extensiveness of sense-making

Many thanks to Laura for this fruitful collaboration! I am excited about the new direction we are proposing: the spatiotemporally extensive mind!

Dr. Tom Froese

The battle over the spatial extensiveness of mind has pretty much been won in recent debates in cognitive science. Here we argue that the next step is to defend the temporal extensiveness of mind!

On the spatiotemporal extensiveness of sense-making: Ultrafast cognition and the historicity of normativity

Laura Mojica and Tom Froese

The enactive approach conceives of cognition as acts of sense-making. A requirement of
sense-making is adaptivity, i.e., the agent’s capacity to actively monitor and regulate its own trajectories with respect to its viability constraints. However, there are examples of sense-making, known as ultrafast cognition, that occur faster than the time physiologically required for the organism to centrally monitor and regulate movements, for example via long-range neural feedback mechanisms. These examples open a clarificatory challenge for the enactive approach with respect to how to operationalize monitoring and regulation, and with respect to the temporal scale of sense-making, which has…

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The Enactive Approach to Habits: New Concepts for the Cognitive Science of Bad Habits and Addiction

Here is Susana’s first full-blown article! Well done!!

Dr. Tom Froese

Following on from our opinion piece with Christian Schütz, here is the next installment in our development of a better understanding of addiction.

The Enactive Approach to Habits: New Concepts for the Cognitive Science of Bad Habits and Addiction

Susana Ramírez-Vizcaya and Tom Froese

Habits are the topic of a venerable history of research that extends back to antiquity, yet they were originally disregarded by the cognitive sciences. They started to become the focus of interdisciplinary research in the 1990s, but since then there has been a stalemate between those who approach habits as a kind of bodily automatism or as a kind of mindful action. This implicit mind-body dualism is ready to be overcome with the rise of interest in embodied, embedded, extended, and enactive (4E) cognition. We review the enactive approach and highlight how it moves beyond the traditional stalemate by integrating both autonomy and sense-making into its…

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Distinctive movement patterns during embodied interaction by adults with HFA

Well done to Leonardo for coordinating another excellent study of embodied social interaction!

Dr. Tom Froese

Our latest analyses suggest that mutual gaze avoidance by people with autism could generalize to mutual touch avoidance during embodied interaction.

Multi-scalar coordination of distinctive movement patterns during embodied interaction between adults with high-functioning autism and neurotypicals

Leonardo Zapata-Fonseca, Dobromir G. Dotov, Ruben Y. Fossion, Tom Froese, Leonhard Schilbach, Kai Vogeley, and Bert Timmermans

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be understood as a social interaction disorder. This requires researchers to take a “second-person” stance and to use experimental setups based on bidirectional interactions. The present work offers a quantitative description of movement patterns exhibited during computer mediated real-time sensorimotor interaction in 10 dyads of adult participants, each consisting of one control individual (CTRL) and one individual with high functioning autism (HFA). We applied time-series analyses to their movements and found two main results. First, multi-scale coordination between participants was present. Second, despite this dyadic alignment and our previous finding that…

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Summer school “Introduction to Enactivism” in Hokkaido, Japan

A recurring topic in our group’s meetings this year was the lack of an introductory level resource for people trying to learn about 4E cognition. This summer school could help!

Dr. Tom Froese

Next August I will be one of three instructors in a summer school on enactive philosophy of mind and cognitive science in beautiful Hokkaido, Japan! The other instructors are Shigeru Taguchi (phenomenology) and Masatoshi Yoshida (neuroscience), so this will be a truly interdisciplinary experience.

We are looking for motivated students to join us in this enactive summer school!

Title and abstract below. For more details please see the course website:

Introduction to Enactivism: Moving to Know, Knowing to Move

The aim of this course is to give an introduction to enactivism by lectures and experimental practices. Enactivism is a philosophical view on cognition and experience that Francisco Varela and other scholars developed. According to this view, cognition and experience are not just passive processes, but a kind of ”making up” of reality through our action.

In this course, students can examine to what extent the enactive view of experience is…

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Perspective piece on the concept of opioid addiction

Congratulations to Susana for coordinating this nice little perspective article!

Dr. Tom Froese

This perspective piece on opioid addiction resulted from a workshop on enactive approaches to psychopathology our group organized last year. The science of addiction is in desperate need of a better theoretical framework, and we hope to be able to contribute to its development in the coming years.

The Clinical Concept of Opioid Addiction Since 1877: Still Wanting After All These Years

Christian G. Schütz, Susana Ramírez-Vizcaya, and Tom Froese

In 1877, the psychiatrist Edward Levinstein authored the first monograph on opioid addiction. The prevalence of opioid addiction prior to his publication had risen in several countries including England, France and Germany. He was the first to call it an illness, but doubted that it was a mental illness because the impairment of volition appeared to be restricted to opioid use: it was not pervasive, since it did not extend to other aspects of the individuals’ life. While there has…

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New paper: Self-Optimization in Continuous-Time Recurrent Neural Networks

The core part of Mario’s Master’s thesis has now been published in Frontiers in Robotics and AI!

Dr. Tom Froese

We were able to generalize the powerful self-optimization process to continuous-time neural networks, the class of neural networks most used by evolutionary robotics.

Self-Optimization in Continuous-Time Recurrent Neural Networks

Mario Zarco and Tom Froese

A recent advance in complex adaptive systems has revealed a new unsupervised learning technique called self-modeling or self-optimization. Basically, a complex network that can form an associative memory of the state configurations of the attractors on which it converges will optimize its structure: it will spontaneously generalize over these typically suboptimal attractors and thereby also reinforce more optimal attractors—even if these better solutions are normally so hard to find that they have never been previously visited. Ideally, after sufficient self-optimization the most optimal attractor dominates the state space, and the network will converge on it from any initial condition. This technique has been applied to social networks, gene regulatory networks, and neural networks, but its application…

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Latest issue of Adaptive Behavior!

This attempt to bring together enactive and ecological approaches to deal with the problem of representation should be of interest!

Dr. Tom Froese

The latest issue of Adaptive Behavior is out with a nice mix of content.

I picked the article by Julian Kiverstein and Erik Rietveld on “Reconceiving representation-hungry cognition: an ecological-enactive proposal” as my editor’s pick, so it’s available for free!

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