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The Pragmatic TurnToward Action-Oriented Views in Cognitive Science$
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Andreas K. Engel, Karl J. Friston, and Danica Kragic

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034326

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034326.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Acting Up

Acting Up

An Approach to the Study of Cognitive Development

(p.49) 4 Acting Up
The Pragmatic Turn

Giovanni Pezzulo

Gottfried Vosgerau

Uta Frith

Antonia F. de C. Hamilton

Cecilia Heyes

Atsushi Iriki

Henrik Jörntell

Peter König

Saskia K. Nagel

Pierre-Yves Oudeyer

Robert D. Rupert

Antonella Tramacere

The MIT Press

Despite decades of research, we lack a comprehensive framework to study and explain cognitive development. The emerging “paradigm” of action-based cognition implies that cognitive development is an active rather than a passive, automatic, and self-paced maturational process. Importantly, “active” refers to both sensorimotor activity (in the narrow sense) as well as to autonomous exploration (e.g., as found in active perception or active learning). How does this emphasis on action affect our understanding of cognitive development? Can an action-based approach provide a much-needed integrative theory of cognitive development? This chapter reviews key factors that influence development (including sensorimotor skills as well as genetic, social, and cultural factors) and their associated brain mechanisms. Discussion focuses on how these factors can be incorporated into a comprehensive action-based framework. Challenges are highlighted for future research (e.g., problems associated with explaining higher-level cognitive abilities and devising novel experimental methodologies). Although still in its infancy, an action-based approach to cognitive development holds promise to improve scientific understanding of cognitive development and to impact education and technology.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, action-derived cognitive processing, cognitive processing in humans, genetic, social, and cultural factors in development, perception and action in development, representation and intentionality, sensorimotor skills

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