As Karl Fast describes, embodied cognition is based on research that shows how “physical states of the body [including the body’s perception of the environment] can prime and alter conceptual states of the mind.” There are a number of hypotheses that attempt to explain and expand upon this research. Although different in many ways, both embodied cognition and the idea of cognition as a multi-level emergent system recognize the body as a central actor / fundamental element / primary interface of cognition.
In his talk, Fast introduces research on the body and its role in cognition and explores the implications of this research for design. He also briefly discusses the evolution from product-centered design to user-centered design to network-centered design. Network or system design approaches begin to address questions about how to design for modern day complexity. Fast suggests that, as the nature of our design challenges shift from simple to more complex relationships among increasing numbers of actors/objects, the objectives of design should shift from representation to representation plus interactions and structures to representation, interactions and structures, and coordination and context.
Karl Fast (Adaptive Path • UX Week ) | Understanding Embodiment