Plenary Lecture

Enactive Interactions and Embodied Knowledge Acquisition in Νatural and Virtual Environments: Implications for Cognitive Neuroscience

Professor Francesca Morganti
Department of Human and Social Sciences
University of Bergamo

Abstract: Within the most recent cognitive neuroscience approach, enaction considers human interaction as situated in a specific context. The sensorimotor coupling of biological organisms and the environment in which they live determines recurrent patterns of perception and action that shapes cognition. At the same time embodied knowledge refers to the idea of a body as the interface between the brain and the world that allows the mind and the specific surrounding environment to merge in order to acquire knowledge. By reshaping the concept of perception, action and learning the enactive approach sheds new light on the implications that mirror neurons discoveries had for neuroscience in the last twenty years. On the other side, enactive embodied cognition introduces the notion of the coevolution of the agent and its environment opening several unrevealed questions about the equivalence between natural and simulated environments largely used in cognitive research and clinical applications. The present contribution aims in detail those questions and in finding possible answers by presenting some example of knowledge acquisition assessment and treatment through the use of virtual simulation in cognitive neuroscience.

Brief Biography of the Speaker: Francesca Morganti worked since 1999 on the relationship between enactive technologies, such as virtual reality, and cognitive science. From one point of view she used enactive technologies as innovative possibility to have a full controlled experimental setting for the study of knowledge acquisition, on the other complementary side she designed and ergonomically tested enactive technologies for the application in experimental psychology and neuroscience. Among the Italian scientific panorama Francesca Morganti has a peculiar expertise in between Neuroscience and Information Technology as showed from her publication record and from the international scholar activity on
On emerging technologies application in neuroscience, Francesca Morganti worked as Senior Researcher in European Union and Italian research programs on the evaluation and treatment of cognitive impairment derived from brain injury, focussing in particular on cardiovascular brain diseases (stroke) and neurodegenerative dementia (Alzheimer’s). Within this field Francesca Morganti published several international papers and received important awards both from the clinical and from the technological scientific community. At present she is Research Professor at the University of Bergamo (Italy) in the field of clinical and developmental neuropsychology.

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