How We Think with Bodies and Things

 David Kirsh, Professor of Cognitive Science, UC San Diego


Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University May 7, 2010
, 12:50pm, Gates B01

My challenge is to explain how we think with our bodies and the things around us, how it can be literally true that there are times when dancers use their bodies as things to think with, or that students of physics can handle a cup of tea and, in that handling, co-opt the cup to help think about surface tension, suspensions, or gravity. The most effective interactive design enables people to couple so closely and seamlessly with things that they behave as one. I will use data from an extensive ethnographic study of a world-class choreographer at work, and also report on a few simple experiments to show that indeed there is such a thing as enactive thought.


I received my BA from the University of Toronto in philosophy and economics, my D.Phil from Oxford University on foundations of cognitive science, and I spent five years at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab as a research scientist. I am a Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of California at San Diego. Although my official areas of specialization are artificial intelligence, situated cognition, philosophy of mind and science, and foundations of cognitive science, I have been working for some years now on cognitive engineering and how to better design highly interactive environments.

The talks are open to the public. They are in the Gates Building, Room B01 in the basement. The nearest public parking is in the structure at Campus Drive and Roth Way.

View this talk on line at CS547 on Stanford OnLine.

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