A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain

Coming from the world of outdoor and experiential learning and then the arts and the arts therapies, it seems clear that we think with our bodies as well as our brains. Dancers and climbers both do this. As do joiners and sculptors, painters and decorators and artists. Art as research or art a way of exploring and expressing personal experience connects directly to embodied cognition, but the output of exploration or research is art and experience. If we are seeking models for understanding art making experiences and or outdoor experiences, embodied cognition is a kind of conduit to shift ideas from one context to another.

A Sense of Direction – BBC Radio 4

Very interesting radio show, particularly for any outdoor educators. It explores animal and human ability to sense direction and evidence of magnetic sensitivity in the brains of animals and whether it is present in humans. Our brain can sense magnetic fields but this is reduced by radio signals. Whether this sensitivity allows some people to sense north is not yet proven. But anecdotal evidence suggests that they are but only in times of physical stress, ie when the cognitive function is compromised by fatigue or stress. This could be interesting to people doing extreme sports, or undergoing rigorous activity needing a sense of direction ie lost on an expedition. It also confirms that when lost we walk in circles.

Richard Long in Mexico

Richard Long changed my life. I was doing an urban outdoor programme in Liverpool, England, and went to see the first ever show at Tate Liverpool, called Starlit Waters - British Sculpture. An International Art 1968 - 1988. Saw Richard Long, Anish Kapoor, Alison Wilding, Hamish Fulto, Barry Flanagan, Tony Cragg, Art and Language, Ian Hamilton Filay, on and on... The man who walked into that show was a different man to the one that walked out. I did hiking for my job and here was a guy who made hiking into art. I was renderd speechless. It was the sheer physicality of it and that it was objects I would have never thought of as 'sculpture'.