Speaker: Dr. Ada Kritikos (UQ)
Topic: Body representation and embodied cognition
This week one of our very own will be presenting. If you have ever wondered what people were discovering on the 4th floor in the Perception and Action Lab, now you can find out, as Ada Kritikos will present a talk titled: Embodied Ownership in Neurotypical Children and Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Property is important to us: our possessions are an extension of ourselves. The concept of ownership is codified in language, manifest in social norms, and embodied in our cognitive and behavioural relations with objects around us. In experimental work using motion capture, we have shown that during reach-grasp-lift-replace movements, neurotypical young adults reliably ‘pull’ their own mugs towards themselves and ‘push’ the experimenter’s away (Constable et al, 2011; Grasping the concept of personal property. Cognition, 119, 430-437).
Based on language use and the use of personal pronouns, the concept of ownership develops in complexity during the preschool years. What is not yet firmly established, however, is the point during development that ownership becomes embodied. We used motion capture to analyse children’s interactions. We gifted neurotypical children with a drink bottle and they performed a simple reach-grasp-lift-replace task with either their own bottle or that of the experimenter. We show that children from 3 years onwards show consistent and systematic patterns of motor interactions with the bottles, and these patterns reflect those seen in young adults. That is, they positioned the self-owned bottle closer to themselves than the Experimenter’s bottle. We propose that ownership is embodied at a very early stage of cognitive development, and speculate that this embodiment helps shape subsequent cognitive biases in perceiving and interacting with the physical world.
Dr Ada Kritikos leads the UQ Perception and Action Lab. Ada joined the UQ School of Psychology in 2007 having previously held research positions at the University of Wales and Melbourne University, and an academic position at Victoria University (Melbourne). Her research area is perception and action, specifically the way people modify their motor behaviour to the meaningful social and physical environment. She conducts work on action observation, body representation, and embodied cognition.