Computational Modelling of Cognition as a Tool for Cross-Pollination Between Two Cognitive Science Paradigms


  • Christina Light University of Vienna



In the ever ongoing evolution of paradigms in cognitive science, currently embodied cognition is one of the foremost areas of study. [1] While some believe it can replace the computational theory of mind, others view it as an additional lens of interpretation that doesn’t hold the revolutionary power some proponents underline. [2] Alongside the rise of embodied cognition research, computational accounts of the mind are a growing research field promising a unified theory of cognition [2] and simultaneously providing a tool for refining theoretical concepts about processes or phenomena through computational modelling. [3] This has led researchers to argue for unifying different approaches by conceptualizing cognition as embodied, culturally situated, yet computational process for prediction. [2]


In which ways such attempts at unification have been realized is the puzzle of this work; Specifically asking: (How) did the research tradition of embodied cognition influence computational modelling of cognition? And is this a reciprocal information process?

The goal is to attain an overview of different ways in which concepts from embodied cognition research tradition have informed computational modelling of cognition, and how insights from the modelling processes have then fed back into the theoretical accounts on embodied cognition, or the accounts on computationalism.

This shall be achieved by searching and analysing literature in parallel & incrementally increasing the depth of the research. The root of the bibliography is built by the author lists & references of high quality handbooks of the respective fields published after 2000. Additionally a systematic catalogue research shall detect influential contributions from peer-reviewed journals.


The expected outcome is a collection of attempts at integration, their underlying assumptions and limitations, accompanied by an analysis of their development & reception within the discourse. This in turn sheds light on the achievements, potentials and limitations of the contributing fields. Further it addresses the idea that two domains of cognitive science research can work as correctives for each other in the endeavour toward a more comprehensive and integrated theory of cognition. This might shed light on dynamics driving the reception and integration of ideas that either facilitate or hinder interdisciplinary research.


[1] L. Shapiro, Ed., The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition, Routledge, 2014.

[2]  M. Sprevak and M. Colombo, Eds., The Routledge Handbook of the Computational Mind, Milton Park, OX and New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2019. 

[3] R. Sun and S. Bringsjord, „Cognitive Systems and Cognitive Architectures,“ December 2007.