Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Multimodal Study on How Embodiment Relates to Perception of Complexity
by Polk, Robert B., Ph.D., Fielding Graduate University, 2017, 402; 10602706
Abstract (Summary)

This preamble study asks whether amplifying our embodied knowing may heighten our ability to sense the complex adaptive patterns in our daily lives. Embodied cognitivists argue nothing that qualifies as thinking was not itself first borne of our physical engagement with the natural world. In this stance, all knowledge is seen as corporeal in nature and thus generated from our intersubjective relationships with the world about us. As such, embodied perception is believed to be direct, veridical, and unmediated by the brain alone. This study also reinforces a growing consensus that the dominant locus for perceiving complex adaptive patterns is achieved through nonconscious rather than conscious processes. Consequently, this research marries the literatures of embodied cognition, nonconscious perception, and complexity to generate an original investigation into how manipulating these relationships could improve our abilities to access, sift through, and act more wisely in the patterns that matter the most. While attempts to establish a clear empirical connection amongst these phenomena were less than conclusive, this inaugural study also makes useful contributions in (a) reframing the array of literature around embodiment into a single, monist conception called the Mind, Body, Environment (MBE) Continuum; (b) lessons learned designing macro-level empirical research into nonconscious embodied perception; (c) providing an inaugural dataset upon which to build future inquiry into this domain, and finally (d) augmenting and testing a non-traditional research methodology called distributed ethnography commensurate to the unique nature of this inquiry.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Melville, Keith
Commitee: Reese, Rebecca M., Rogers, Katrina, Ronis, Sheila R., Steier, Fred
School: Fielding Graduate University
Department: The School of Human and Organization Development
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cognitive psychology, Organization Theory, Systems science
Keywords: Adaptive action, Complexity, Embodiment, Narrative, Nonconsciousness, Sensemaking
Publication Number: 10602706
ISBN: 9780355116755
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