Situated Cognition

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Title: A Short Primer on Situated Cognition
Author: Philip Robbins and Murat Aydede


In recent years there has been a lot of buzz about a new trend in cognitive science. The trend is associated with terms like embodiment, enactivism, distributed cognition, and the extended mind. The ideas expressed using these terms are a diverse and sundry lot, but three of them stand out as especially central. First, cognition depends not just on the brain but also on the body (the embodiment thesis). Second, cognitive activity routinely exploits structure in the natural and social environment (the embedding thesis). Third, the boundaries of cognition extend beyond the boundaries of individual organisms (the extension thesis)… In this brief introductory chapter, we present a bird’s-eye view of the conceptual landscape of situated cognition as seen from each of the three angles noted previously: embodiment, embedding, and extension. Our aim is to orient the reader, if only in a rough and preliminary way, to the sprawling territory of this [Cambridge] handbook.


Robbins, P., & Aydede, M. (2009). A short primer on situated cognition. The Cambridge handbook of situated cognition, 3-10.