Representation-­phobia and the complexity of embodied interaction

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In current interaction design research there is a widespread belief that situated action and embodied interaction should replace mental representations in the theoretical account of human cognition. This exclusion of representation is however diagnosed as a sign of representation-phobia by Anderson (2003) who claims that it is misguided. This paper aims to show why and how it can be overcome. Initially, a literature review will show how representation-phobia manifests itself through two different versions in HCI research. On the basis of this I argue that representationphobia leads to a theoretical dead end. Then, by drawing on semiotics and recent findings from cognitive research, I argue that we cannot understand the rich complexity of embodied interaction unless we furnish our thinking with a dynamic notion of representation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Design Research Society Conference 2010 "Design and Complexity"
Number of pages15
Publication date2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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