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The 34th Annual Carnegie Symposium on Cognition

"Embodiment, Ego-Space, and Action"

The majority of research on human perception and action examines sensors and effectors in relative isolation. What is less often considered in these research domains is that humans interact with a perceived world in which they themselves are part of the perceptual representation, as are the positions and actions (potential or ongoing) of other active organisms. It is this self-in-world representation that we call embodiment. Increasingly, research demonstrates that embodiment is fundamental to both executing and understanding spatially directed action. It has been theorized to play a role in reaching and grasping, locomotion and navigation, infant imitation, spatial and social perspective taking, and neurological dysfunctions as diverse as phantom limb pain and autism. Few formalisms have been put forward, however, to describe how self-representation functions at a mechanistic level and what neural structures support those functions. Behavioral research has revealed a number of tantalizing outcomes that point to a role for the representation of the body in basic human function; neuroscientists have identified multiple sensorimotor maps of the body within the cortex and specific brain areas devoted to the representation of space and place; and developmental researchers have identified neonatal behaviors indicating a representation of self and have traced the course of spatially oriented action across the early years. What is needed is a shared effort to merge perspectives of behavioral science, neuroscience, and developmental psychology in order to further our understanding of the forms and functional roles of the embodied representation. The 2006 symposium will provide a forum by which researchers from these various perspectives can come together to share their findings, ideas, aspirations, and concerns.

Details of the conference schedule and registration (admission is free but registration is necessary) are available from website:

Please note that funding is available for junior scientists' travel and lodging expenses associated with attending the symposium. Interested applicants should send a brief statement of interest, a curriculum vitae, and one letter of recommendation by April 21, 2006 to Genevieve Placone