Thinking Materially: Cognition as Extended and Enacted

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
Karenleigh A. Overmann Center for Cognitive Archaeology, University of Colorado Colorado Springs

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Human cognition is extended and enacted. Drawing the boundaries of cognition to include the resources and attributes of the body and materiality allows an examination of how these components interact with the brain as a system, especially over cultural and evolutionary spans of time. Literacy and numeracy provide examples of multigenerational, incremental change in both psychological functioning and material forms. Though we think materiality, its central role in human cognition is often unappreciated, for reasons that include conceptual distribution over multiple material forms, the unconscious transparency of cognitive activity in general, and the different temporalities of metaplastic change in neurons and cultural forms.

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