Changing Currents in Education and Public Life
Edited by Lynn Book and David Phillips
Chapter 6: Sharing creativity through the mirror neuron system: Embodied simulation through dance
Creative initiatives often surface from symbiotic relationships among seemingly unrelated disciplines. Embodiment is a field that arose from creative exchanges among phenomenology, cognitive neuroscience, ethnography, psychology, performing arts, somatic education, artificial intelligence and virtual reality to dismantle centuries of Cartesian dualism. Embodied consciousness means that all aspects of cognition – ideas, thoughts and concepts – are shaped by bodily experience (Varela et al., 1991). A contemporary expression of Descartes’s edict, ‘I think; therefore I am’, might be ‘I think; therefore I move’ (Hanna, 1990/1991) or better, ‘I live in this body; therefore I think’. Cognition is intrinsically tied to sensorimotor experiences (Adenzato and Garbarini, 2006), and creativity resides in the ability to express and communicate as a physical body (Garbarini and Adenzato, 2004). Neuroscience research evidences the connections between body and mind (Gallagher, 2005; Longo et al., 2008). Brain mapping (neuro-imaging) fosters a deeper understanding of social behavior; embodied simulation shows how kinaesthetic resonance shapes our feelings and actions.
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