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Embodied Cognition and Dynamical/Complex Systems

University of California, Merced

Cognitive Science 101

By: Juan Rodriguez

Due: 11/04/2016
Embodied cognition and Dynamic/Complex System Theory have a come a long way

from the early robust interpretations of cognitive science. Both methodologies emphasize some

type of interaction between the mind and the body or the mind, the body, and the environment

itself. That is to say, cognitive processes can be deeply traced back towards these key

interactions of the physical body towards cognitive phenomena. To fully understand both

methodologies, we must delve into their main principles as well as their relation to their

respective analysis between cognition and the physical realm.

First and foremost, Embodied Cognition has a distinct set of principles as well as a

variety of views that exist within the methodology itself. Nonetheless, the merging viewpoint of

embodied cognition holds that cognitive processes are deeply rooted in the bodys interactions

with the world (Wilson,2002). We can go farther and even say that the starting basis for this

theoretical stance is that this is not a mind working on abstract problems, rather a body that

requires a mind to make it function (Wilson,2002). Generally, this entails that the body is a key

component in shaping the mind. All the interactions that take place are of necessary value to

explain how certain cognitive processes arise. Naturally, however, this wasnt the case

previously since most branches of the cognitive sciences argued that the mind was essentially an

abstract information processor whose connections to the outside world were of little theoretical

importance (Wilson,2002). It was thought that perceptual and motor systems were not relevant to

understanding central cognitive processes and that they were merely input and output devices
(Wilson,2002). Despite the critical acclaims on the interactions of the physical body, Embodied

Cognition has persevered onwards and has gained momentum in establishing a sense of

perpetual communion between the physical and the mental on the sole basis that this theory

emphasizes sensory and motor functions, as well as their importance for successful interaction

with the environment (Wilson,2002). In essence, in order to fully understand the mind, we must

also understand its relationship to a physical body that interacts with the world (Wilson,2002).

To further build upon this notion, we can also argue that this phenomenon can be attributed to

our evolution from basic primates to the more modernized human. It is said that neural resources

from early primates were specifically devoted to perceptual and motoric processing and our

cognitive activity consisted largely of immediate on-line interaction with the environment

(Wilson,2002). This in turn houses the idea that instead of being centralized, abstract, and

distinct from peripheral input and output modules, human cognition may instead have deep roots

in sensorimotor processing (Wilson,2002). However, this still demonstrates a more construed

understanding of what Embodied Cognition could potentially be. It has been known that a great

deal of diversity among Embodied Cognition alone has risen from the more generalized theory of

a mind interacting with a body which in itself interacts with the world. We can introduce a set of

claims for Embodied Cognition that promote a general subclass of the methodology which can

also potentially dictate its own value among the general methodology. The claims are as follows


Cognition is situated

Cognition is Time Pressured

We off-load cognitive work onto the environment

The environment is part of the cognitive system

Cognition is for action

Off-line cognition is body based.

Let it be known that a formal review of a couple claims will be covered briefly, but each claim

embeds the interactions of mind, body, and environment. The first of these claims is the idea that

cognition is situated. That is, while a cognitive process is being carried out, perceptual

information continues to come in that affects processing, and motor activity is executed that

affects the environment in task-relevant ways (Wilson,2002). A few examples include, driving,

running, or talking with someone. To further simplify the concept, situated cognition involves

interacting in some sense with the things that the cognitive activity is about (Wilson,2002). This

generally entails that cognitive activities such as planning, day-dreaming, or even remembering

are not situated. These activities do not interact with things that are planned or even dreamed

about. Onward towards the second claim is the fact that cognition is time pressured. That is,

situated agents must deal with the constraints of real time or runtime (Wilson,2002). One

can definitely see the existing proposition of this statement in reality itself. The reason being that

a creature in a real environment has no such leisure to build and manipulate internal

representations of a situation with an indeterminate amount of time. The creature must cope with

predators, prey, stationary objects, and terrain as fast as the situation calls for it (Wilson,2002).

As one can see, an activity such as this would require real time responsiveness to feedback from

the environment. Certain activities may not seem intelligent in and of themselves, but one can

argue that greater cognitive complexity can be built up from successive layers of procedures for

real time interaction with the environment (Wilson,2002). In essence we can directly state that
time can shape situated cognition. This entails a representational bottleneck which states that

when a situation calls for fast and continuous evolving responses, there may be simply not

enough time to build up a full blown mental model of the environment from which to derive a

plan of action (Wilson,2002). Instead we drive a cheap and efficient method of action for

generating situated-appropriate action on the fly. However, if time pressure was not evident in

the so called situation then we obtain the opportunity to assess the overall problem and make

the necessary steps to adjust for the situation in a well thought out plan.

While Embodied Cognition has become a reputable methodology to try and explain

cognitive processes with respect to the interactions between the body, the mind, and the

environment, Dynamic/Complex System Theory provide an alternate mode of explanation on the

basis that the brain can be understood as a complex system or network in which mental states

emerge from the interaction between multiple physical and functional levels (Bassett &

Gazzaniga, 2011). Many of the factors we need to consider include complexity and multiscale

organization as well as spatial and temporal scaling. To further inquire, we need to understand

the mind-brain connection that exists along with what is known about the structure of the brain

and its organizing principles. To put it simply, the brain is a complex temporally and spatially

multiscale structure that gives rise to elaborate molecular, cellular, and neuronal phenomena that

together form the physical and biological basis of cognition (Bassett & Gazzaniga, 2011). It

should also be noted that the structure within any given scale is organized into modules (Bassett

& Gazzaniga, 2011). This allows for the basis of cognitive functions that are primed to be

adaptable to any discrete changes within the environment. Furthermore, spatial and temporal
scaling display similar organization at multiple resolutions. Looking at spatial scaling alone, cells

within the human brain are heterogeneously distributed throughout the brain (Bassett &

Gazzaniga, 2011). That being said, we can also infer that the connections between the

subcomponents of the brain are also heterogeneous. Looking at temporal scaling, this is more

closely associated with the rhythmic nature of the brain during neuronal activity. These rhythms

vary in frequency and evidently relate to different cognitive capacities. To name a few, the

highest frequency gamma band is greater than 30 Hz and is thought to be associated with

cognitive binding of information from various sensory and cognitive modalities (Bassett &

Gazzaniga, 2011). Anything frequency below 30 Hz is described as just complementary

functions. However, other key components exist within the Complex/Dynamic System Theory

which further includes modularity and emergence. To briefly state what these two concepts bring

to this methodology is the sole proposition that the entire brain system can be decomposed into

subsystems and modules. Emergence, however, plays with the idea that behavior, function and/or

other properties of the system are more than the sum of the systems parts at any particular level

or across levels (Bassett & Gazzaniga, 2011). Further inquiries into both of these concepts will

be discussed further along this paper. Nonetheless, Dynamic/Complex Systems Theory revolves

around the idea between brain function and the physical properties that manifest during cognitive


When it comes to analyzing both Embodied Cognition and Dynamic/Complex Systems,

we can do so in terms of Marrs levels of analysis. Embodied Cognition closely resembles the

Implementation level of analysis and Dynamic/Complex Systems is much more situated at the
algorithmic level. However, we must understand the basic principles of Marrs levels of analysis.

Let it be known that this methodology has withstood the test of time since its still the canonical

scheme for organizing formal analyses of information processing systems for over thirty years

after they were first introduced (Griffiths, Lieder, & Goodman, 2015). Looking at the levels

themselves, we have the abstract characterization of the computational problem being solved or

the computational level. We then have the algorithm executing that solution or the

algorithmic level (Griffiths, Lieder, & Goodman, 2015). Finally, we have the hardware

implementing that algorithm or the implementation level (Griffiths, Lieder, & Goodman,

2015). While Marr has contributed greatly with this well-known methodology, his contributions

have a far more reaching impact than what is known and that's the fact that it is valid, fruitful,

and even necessary to analyze cognition by forming abstraction barriers, which result in levels of

analysis (Griffiths, Lieder, & Goodman, 2015). That is, forming layers of cognition incite a

better analysis of the entire process as a whole. This generally provides a means of carefully

observing the cognition process and detailing new concepts such as embodied cognition and

Dynamic/Complex systems based on the levels of analysis. The main argument here, however, is

that we can assign each conceptual framework with a level of analysis. More so, Embodied

Cognition as the Implementation level and Dynamic/Complex as Algorithmic. How this is done

is somewhat straightforward. As we discussed previously, Embodied Cognition makes its claim

on the sole proposition that the interactions between the mind, the body, and the environment are

as relevant as the connections that occur within the human mind. While we briefly covered

certain claims of Embodied Cognition, lets go over one of the few claims that closely explains

the cognitive process despite its low popularity from the cognitive science community. We will

be combining both the idea that we off-load cognitive work onto the environment and offline
cognition is body based since both claims build on one another. Taking a look at how off-loading

works, we need to understand that we frequently choose to run our cognitive processes off line.

While this is true most of the time, some situations force us to function on line (Wilson,2002).

This presents a key question which is to determine how we handle our cognitive limitations in

these on line situations. One of the main answers to this question is that we just break down. We

begin to panic and feel hopeless in these situations. However, humans do have innate strategies

to confront these types of confrontations rather than just falling apart. First and foremost, we

have the ability to rely on preloaded representations acquired through prior learning

(Wilson,2002). In the case of unknown and new situations, we have a second option. That is, we

can reduce the cognitive workload by making use of the environment itself in strategic ways.

This allows us to leave information out there in the world to be accessed as needed rather than

taking time to fully encode it and using epistemic actions to alter the environment in order to

reduce the cognitive work remaining to be done (Wilson,2002). By this basis alone, we can see

that off-loading itself presents a type of implementation or execution of some type of

algorithm that has given us the ability to reduce our cognitive workload by off-putting some

information onto the environment. For example, doing mathematical calculations on a paper is a

demonstration of the physical implementation of off-loading. Doing calculus based calculations

solely on mental representations within the mind is one feat that would require a miracle,

however, by off putting information or certain calculations needed to find an answer to a

mathematical problem on a piece of paper or calculator, we significantly reduce the cognitive

processes needed to determine an insignificant piece of the answer. This allows the individual to

then focus on the following necessary concepts to apply on the problem to finally reach the

solution rather than devote an entire cognitive process on just one calculation. Put it simply, less
mental works gives us more time to efficiently solve a problem by shoving cognitive process

onto the environment and utilizing it on a need to know basis. Now, we can look into what it

means for off-line cognition to be body based. As described earlier, during on line situations we

have the capacity to draw on preloaded representations acquired through past experiences. These

preloaded representations, of course, have been acquired through offline cognitive processes

throughout our lives. Nonetheless, we use this to manipulate the environment to help us think

about a problem. An example of this can be demonstrated through air hockey. During the start of

a game, without necessarily being conscious of your actions, individuals have the tendency to

place their paddles on the surface and slide it around from left to right or in circular motion.

While the action in itself might seem odd, it primes your motor programs to prepare for the

upcoming game but no overt movement occurs. If this mental activity succeeds, then this

provides a plethora of cognitive strategies for you to prepare for the game, regardless of whether

you're defending your goal or attacking the enemy goal. This suggests that many centralized,

allegedly abstract cognitive activities may in fact make use of sensorimotor functions in exactly

this kind of covert way (Wilson,2002). In general, the function of these sensorimotor resources is

to run simulation of some aspect of the physical world, as a means of representing information or

drawing inferences (Wilson,2002). Going back to air hockey, those swift movements at the

beginning of the game can be regarded as a simulation of the possible trajectories that can

occur when the puck is finally in motion. The puck will always travel in a straight line within

this game, so the best way to protect your goal is to anticipate the motion of the puck and

synchronizing your early movements at the beginning to incur an intersection between the

motion of the puck and the movement of your paddle at the start of the game. We can also claim

that these swift moments provide a means of off-loading cognitive work onto the environment by
having these motions become autonomous so that when the puck is finally set in motion, the

reaction time of the individual and the cognitive process to perform an action in response to the

puck becomes greatly reduced. In association with that claim, the entire process is body based

since the interactions between the body and the mind and the environment become extremely

relevant. Cognitive processes are then implemented through these interactions so the resulting

system and methods are more relevant towards Marrs Level of Implementation. When it comes

to Dynamic/Complex Systems, we can demonstrate the frameworks association with Marrs

Level of Algorithms. As we know, Dynamic/Complex Systems rely on the idea that the brain is a

complex system in which mental states emerge from the interaction between multiple physical

and functional levels (Bassett & Gazzaniga, 2011). Essentially, its the modeling framework that

defines a complex system in terms of its subcomponents and their interactions, which in turn

form a network (Bassett & Gazzaniga, 2011). This system can also be characterized as more than

the sum of its parts based on its overall behavior (Bassett & Gazzaniga, 2011). This is evident

when discussing these propositions in terms of modularity and emergence. Looking at

modularity, we see that the entire brain system can be decomposed into subsystems. That is, the

brain contains a variety of modules that are interconnected within the system. Furthermore, we

can also argue that each of these modules is composed of elements that are more highly

connected to other elements within the same module than to elements in other modules (Bassett

& Gazzaniga, 2011). This provides a compartmentalization that reduces interdependence of

modules and enhances robustness (Bassett & Gazzaniga, 2011). Modularity, at its core, provides

a multitude of suggestions and abilities as we decompose the system further into parts. As we

break apart the system further and further, we establish a hierarchy in where certain modules are

established as a priority compared to other modules. If you combine this concept with
modularity, this allows for the formation of complex architectures composed of subsystems

within subsystems within subsystems that facilitate a high degree of functional specificity

(Bassett & Gazzaniga, 2011). Looking back at the bigger picture, we now have two

enhancements that modularity brings to the table which are the enhancement of robustness and

specificity. However, modularity can also facilitate behavioral adaptation because each module

can both function and change its function without adversely perturbing the remainder of the

system (Bassett & Gazzaniga, 2011). Thus by reducing constraints on change, we form the

structural basis on which subsystems can evolve and adapt in a highly variable environment

(Bassett & Gazzaniga, 2011). To put it into perspective, we can regard modularity as a type of

cognitive algorithm used for our benefit. Since algorithms are generally composed of ever

adapting variables for the execution of a solution, the further we strip the human brain into

subsystems the more modules that arise, each with its own set of functions. Like discussed

previously, each module can both function and change its function without changing what the

entire system does in general. Thus, the cognitive algorithm that arises allows us to skillfully and

efficiently react to such a variable environment. This allows us to analyze the nature of the

interactions within the brain on an algorithmic level.

In order to show both Embodied Cognition and Dynamic/Complex Systems in action, we

need to analyze a few experiments that have been carried out. The first experiment delves in how

development of infants can be regarded as a dynamic system. The way to explain this concept is

through the idea of Emergence. That is, the coming into existence of new forms through ongoing

processes intrinsic to the system. Thus the question being tackled is how does the human mind
with all its power and imagination, emerge from the human infant; a creature so unformed and

helpless (Smith & Thelen, 2003)? To be more specific, we can go further and ask when do

infants acquire the concept of object permanence (Smith & Thelen, 2003)? At this point, the

cognitive functions being investigated is how the brain develops in a way to obtain information

out of nothing substantially. The hypotheses here is the fact that this phenomenon can be directly

linked to multicausality and nested time scales. What these two assumptions entail is the fact that

in multicausality, developing organisms are complex systems composed of very many individual

elements embedded within and, open to, a complex environment. Thus the coherence between

these elements is generated solely in the relationships between the organic components and the

constraints and opportunities of the environment (Smith & Thelen, 2003). This self-organization

means that no single element has causal priority (Smith & Thelen, 2003). However, in nested

time scales, the behavioral change occurs over different time scales. That is, behavior is

dependent on the time scale in which the behavior itself arises and becomes utilized. In this case,

every neural event is the initial condition for the next slice of time. Every cell division sets the

stage for the next (Smith & Thelen, 2003). This coherence between these levels of the complex

system must mean that the dynamics of one time-scale must be continuous with and nested

within the dynamics of all other time-scales (Smith & Thelen, 2003).

The method by which the experiment goes about studying both the multicausality and

nested time scales is by adopting a simple A-Not-B error experiment within infants. Thus, the

experiment presents a study in which 10 month olds and 12 month olds are given a simple task to

observe the dynamic system of developmental psychology. In essence, the task for the infants is

as follows: The infant is shown a tantalizing toy and is hidden under a lid at location A. The
infant then reaches for the toy and the process is repeated several times. Then a plot twist in the

experiment occurs in which the toy is then hidden at a different location B. The plot twist results

in a "curious" error in which then the infant seeks the toy in the original location A even though

they are aware of the toy being hidden at location B. This error normally arises in infants

between 8 to 10 months old. However, this error is dramatically reduced in 12 months old infants

(Smith & Thelen, 2003). The question is then asked: "What causes this paradigm shift in

understanding within these two months? " (Smith & Thelen, 2003). As detailed in the article, it

was suggested that during that two-month period, infants shift their representations of space,

change the functioning of their prefrontal cortices, learn to inhibit responses, change their

understanding of the task or increase the strength of their representations.

The bodily and neural systems that interact with each other and with the environment is

naturally the brain, the arms, and the 5 senses. The model used in the article is neurally

represented since much of the decision and activations are done neurally. The memory capacity

of the infant is also considered throughout the study as it plays the role on how effective the

environment influences the neural activity of the infant. However, it is worthwhile to note that

the error that occurs in 8 to 10 months old infants is attributed to the hesitation that occurs within

the time frame from which the object is hidden to when the infant begins to reach for the toy

(Smith & Thelen, 2003). While the visual input is acquired, the influence of the environment

itself presents a much higher impact on the stimuli activation within the child's mind. The

moment to moment dynamics of behavioral and/or neural activity is the multi causality as well as

the nested time scales that can be observed within the study. Both dynamics were measured and
the way to measure them is to understand the coherent behavioral patterns that arise within the

individual. Since multi causality is generated solely on the relationship between the organic

components and the constraints and the opportunities of the environment, observing how these

patterns change in reaction to the limitations inflicted by the environment towards the self-

organizing structure of these organic components, we can significantly measure the essence

known as multi causality (Smith & Thelen, 2003).

The second experiment dwells on the influence of evaluation on speed and motor

movements. That is, we wish to evaluate the relationship between thought on one hand and

perception and action systems on the other. Due to this, we suggest that performing actions

associated with a particular valence leads to compatibility effects in subsequent judgements

(Markman & Brendl, 2005). For example, there have been various case studies that have found

that movements of the arm are related to an individuals evaluation. Thus, the question being

asked is whether or not we can use body movements to accurately indicate the relationship

between direction of movement and evaluation as well as an individual's representation of their

self. To explain further, we need to understand the nature of the experiment. In essence, the

overview of the experiment issues a representation of ones self onto the screen by placing the

individual's name in a digitally generated corridor of indeterminate depth. Words then pop up in

front or behind the individuals name at a certain distance away from the name. If we assume

that evaluations are connected to movement representations directly, then people would be faster

to pull positive words towards their bodies and to push negative words away from their bodies

regardless of the position of their names (Markman & Brendl, 2005). However, if the opposite is
true, in which in this case body movements are made relative to a persons representation of self,

then positive words would be moved more quickly toward the name than away from the name

and negative words would be moved more quickly away from the name than toward the name

(Markman & Brendl, 2005). Essentially, it was predicted that participants of the experiment

would be faster to move positive words toward their name and faster to move negative words

away from their name (Markman & Brendl, 2005). Simply put, body movements are made based

on the representations of ones self.

The method by which this is determined was very specific and precise. The participants

themselves were 108 German-speaking students from the University of Konstanz. Three

independent variables coexisted in this study. The first being valence (positive vs negative

words), movement direction (push vs pull), and instruction set (positive toward/negative away vs

positive away/negative toward) (Markman & Brendl, 2005). Nonetheless, the valence and

movement directions were manipulated within the participants and the instruction set was

manipulated with each participant. The only dependent variable was response time to initiate the

movement of the lever. The number of stimuli were 23 positive and 23 negative German words.

The subjects were then sat on a computer and were asked to grasp the arm lever with their

dominant hand (Markman & Brendl, 2005). Then, as discussed before, a representation of ones

self is displayed onto the screen by placing the individual's name in a digitally generated corridor

of indeterminate depth. Words then pop up in front or behind the individuals name at a certain

distance away from the name. Then each subject was randomly assigned to either the positive

toward/negative away condition or the positive away/negative toward condition (Markman &
Brendl, 2005). The response times were measured in milliseconds and were determined by the

moment of onset of the stimulus to the point when the lever was moved 0.208mm (Markman &

Brendl, 2005). The results achieved after the experiment showed that participants were faster to

move positive words toward their name than away from their name regardless of whether this

response required a pushing movement or pulling movement (Markman & Brendl, 2005). This

suggests that previous prediction was true. As humans, our movements tend to base around what

we consider ourselves depending on what the representation can be. Normally when we

consider ourselves, we tend to believe it means that inner representations lie within our physical

bodies or in the center of our physical bodies, but as this experiment shows, this is not always the

case. Thus, abstract representations of our self, have a key influence over our body movements

rather than the body itself. That is, we can necessarily dictate our body actions to revolve around

an abstract representation of ourselves in multitude of ways.

To discuss the moment-to-moment behavioral aspect the experiments, then we have to

look back at the movement of the arm and the lever. As indicated earlier in the experiment, we

considered movement direction to be connected directly to the relationship between movement

representations and what represents ourselves. Thus, if the speed of participants movements was

driven by their representation of their bodies rather than their representation of themselves, they

would of been faster to PULL the lever than to PUSH positive words and faster to PUSH the

lever than to PULL negative words (Markman & Brendl, 2005). However, the results seem to

show the opposite as the movement direction of PUSH and PULL with respect to their bodies

remained irrelevant. Subjects placed a priority on a representation of themselves over their

bodies which resulted in a faster response time to move positive words towards their name as

well as a faster response time to move negative words away from their name. The indication

whether a push or pull made any influence was practically nonexistent. The main bodily systems

that had to interact with the stimuli were the arm movements only. The arm was made to grasp a

level with the only option to pull or push given whatever instructional set was in place. The

stimuli it had to react to was the fact that the words that popped up into the computer screen were

either positive or negative words. Since the results dictate that individuals respond faster to

moving positive words towards their representations of themselves (aka. Their names) regardless

of whether movement towards their name meant to pull or push the lever, the response times

would be the fastest in this regard.

The final experiment demonstrates the influence of design attribute-value sets on brand

categorization through the use of motorcycles. The question here is to evaluate the effect of

perceptual design changes by using strongly reduced black-and-white drawings of motor bikes in

which only one or two design attribute-values were modified (Kreuzbauer & Malter, 2005).

However, the underlying hypotheses for this experiment are as follows (Kreuzbauer & Malter,


H1: The more a product contains design attribute-values referring to a target category, the more

it will be perceived as a member of the target category.

H2: Adding an irrelevant attribute-value will not change classification of the product toward

membership in the target category.

For example, gaming keyboards have attribute-values specifically referring to a key category of

the consumer which are gamers. Keyboards with macros (shortcuts that allow the button to house

more than one function when pressed), mechanical keys, and custom software are all recognized

by the gaming community as a gaming keyboard. Assuming we add an irrelevant attribute-

value, like not containing information about how a product should be used or the possible uses, it

will not change the status quo of the product. It will still be regarded as a gaming keyboard.

The way the experiment demonstrated this was that they got 43 participants who were

part time students in courses in computer science and business management at a large university

in central Europe (Kreuzbauer & Malter, 2005). These students were also highly knowledgeable

about motorbikes at the time the experiment began (Kreuzbauer & Malter, 2005). The

experiment then employed each participant with a printed sheet with four simplified black-and-

white images of motorbikes (Kreuzbauer & Malter, 2005). Each model differed through the

second and third attributes of the motorbike design frame, these attributes being tire tread and

wheel-fender distance (Kreuzbauer & Malter, 2005). A control variable was implemented into

one of the designs, but as stated in the hypotheses, irrelevant attribute-values should not affect

the categorization of the motor bike at all. It was then that the subjects were then instructed to

evaluate whether each of the four motorbikes should be classified as an off-road or street bike.

The point system being utilized has a minimum of 1 which indicates off-road motorbike and

maximum of 7 which indicates street motorbike. It should also be noted that the assigning of

these points should be based on the very first impressions the designs make when viewing them

than actually consciously assessing each bikes attributes (Kreuzbauer & Malter, 2005). Each
model was labeled as A-D with C containing all the attributes that make it an off-road bike and D

containing two attributes associated with a street bike. Model A had only 1 attribute associated

with a street bike and B had the same attributes as C but the difference being that the color

scheme was manipulated. Results showed that both Model B and C were highly regarded as off-

road motorbikes. Model A was perceived to be more of a street bike with Model D being

perceived as the most typical street bike among the four models (Kreuzbauer & Malter, 2005).

This proves that attribute-values do dictate whether product is a member of the category it's

referring too. It also proves that irrelevant attributes have no influence on the categorization of

the product itself.

This experiments mainly focused on the neural dynamics of perceptual input. As the

experiment demonstrated, we wanted to see whether or not attributes that are placed on a product

affect our perceptual indications of what the product is and where it can be categorized too. This

was measured on how much the models represented a certain category, that being off-road and

street bike. Off-road bikes usually have a more rugged wheel tread which is used to grasp the

floor when dirt, mud, or sand is involved. The fenders for these bikes also tend to be farther

away from the wheel compared to street bikes. Street bikes normally have a small distance

between the wheel and the fender and generally have a smooth wheel tread. As the results

showed, the perceptual input we acquire from just the attributes alone, was sufficient enough for

us to indicate high content validity of the experimental design. This shows that consumer

perception of key attribute-value sets from abstract sketches of the motorbike models matched

the judgements of product designs and other experts. Also the neural dynamics of our perception
had to interact with the stimuli which were the abstract models. If the models were fully detailed,

wed recognize where they belong instantly, but by showing the interaction of key attributes and

our perceptual input, we were able to observe that attributes are the key components that dictate

what the product refers too regardless of color scheme or any other irrelevant attribute.

Kreuzbauer, R., & Malter, A. J. (2005, February 24). Embodied Cognition and New
Product Design: Changing Product Form to Influence Brand Categorization*.Journal of Product
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cognitive sciences, 7(8), 343-348.

Markman, A. B., & Brendl, C. M. (2005). Constraining theories of embodied

cognition.Psychological Science, 16(1), 6-10.

Bassett, D. S., & Gazzaniga, M. S. (2011). Understanding complexity in the human brain.
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