Mental vs. Embodied Models of Mirrored Self-Recognition: Some Preliminary Considerations

In B. Hardy-Valeé & N. Payette (eds.), Beyond the Brain: Embodied, Situated, and Distributed Cognition. Cambridge Scholars Press (2008)
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A considerable body of recent work in developmental psychology and animal behavior has addressed the cognitive processes required to recognize oneself in a mirror. Most models of such "mirrored self-recognition" (MSR) treat it as the result of inferential processes drawing on the subject’s possession of some sort of mature "self-awareness". The present chapter argues that such an approach to MSR is not obligatory, and suggests some empirical grounds for rejecting it. We also sketch the outlines of an alternative, "embodied" theory of MSR, and propose a way to evaluate it using the tools of adaptive robotics.

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John Schwenkler
Florida State University


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