Special Section: Can There Be Such a Thing as Embodied Embedded Cognitive Neuroscience?

Jelle van Dijk, Roel Kerkhofs, Iris van Rooij, Pim Haselager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Contemporary cognitive neuroscience, for the most part, aims to figure out how cognitive processes are realized in the brain. This research goal betrays the field's commitment to the philosophical position that cognizing is something that the brain does. Since the 1990s, philosophers and cognitive scientists have started to question this position, arguing that the brain constitutes only one of several contributing factors to cognition, the other factors being the body and the world. This latter position we refer to as embodied embedded cognition (EEC). Although cognitive neuroscience's research practice and EEC do not seem to fit well together at present, it is pertinent to ask if a variant of cognitive neuroscience can be developed that sets itself research goals that are more congenial to the EEC view. In this paper we investigate this possibility. We put forth a new guiding metaphor of the role of the brain in cognitive behavior to replace the current cognitivist metaphor of the brain as an information-processing device. We also identify a research agenda that naturally arises from our metaphor. In this way we hope to provide an impetus for cognitive neuroscientists to pursue an EEC-inspired research program.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-316
JournalTheory and Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


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