Complex Dynamical Systems and Embodiment

Authored by: Michael J. Richardson , Anthony Chemero

The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition

Print publication date:  May  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415623612
eBook ISBN: 9781315775845
Adobe ISBN: 9781317688662


 Download Chapter



Although dynamical systems have been used by cognitive scientists for more than a decade already (e.g. Kugler, Kelso, and Turvey, 1980), dynamical systems first gained widespread attention in the mid-1990s (e.g. Kelso, 1995; Port and van Gelder, 1995; Thelen and Smith, 1994). Dynamical systems theory was then, and continues to be, a crucial tool for embodied cognitive science. The word dynamical simply means “changing over time” and thus a dynamical system is simply a system whose behavior evolves or changes over time. The scientific study of dynamical systems is concerned with understanding, modeling, and predicting the ways in which the behavior of a system changes over time. In the last few decades, thanks to increasing computational power, researchers have begun to investigate and understand the dynamic behavior of complex biological, cognitive, and social systems, using the concepts and tools of non-linear dynamical systems. In the next section, we will describe the key concepts of modern dynamical systems theory (complexity, self-organization, soft assembly, interaction dominance, and non-linearity). In the second section, we briefly discuss some dynamical analysis techniques used in the cognitive sciences. In the third, we give some examples of the application of complex dynamical systems theory and analysis in cognitive science. In the last, we sketch some consequences of the widespread applicability of dynamical approaches to understanding neural, cognitive, and social systems.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.