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Embodied Cognition and Learning in Artificial Environments:
Comments on Dismissals, Missions, and Omissions in Winn (2003)

Jurgen A. Buder and Friedrich W. Hesse

This paper comments on Winn (2003) who claimed that embodied cognition approaches provide an adequate framework for research on learning in artificial environments. This reply argues that competing frameworks (classical cognitivism, constructivism, embodied cognition) differ less in their repertoire of arguments than in their emphasis on particular arguments. Consequently, on the current empirical basis there is no reason to dismiss any of those frameworks in its entirety. This reply re-analyzes the arguments Winn (2003) made with respect to embodied cognition and artificial environments. Many of those arguments do not differ remarkably from arguments made by other frameworks, do not reveal much about learning processes, or are difficult to link to artificial environments because they are too broad or too specific. From this analysis it is concluded that embodied cognition approaches can be particularly valuable in three areas: a) research that focuses on learning as enactment; b) research that focuses on lower-level interactivity between person and environment, e.g. navigation through an artificial environment; and c) research dealing with issues of adequate timing of activities.

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