Embodying expertise as a performer and perceiver: insights from the arts and robotics

Cross, E. S. (2020) Embodying expertise as a performer and perceiver: insights from the arts and robotics. In: Fridland, E. and Pavese, C. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Skill and Expertise. Routledge: London, pp. 281-291. ISBN 9781315180809 (doi:10.4324/9781315180809-28)

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Abstract

When watching another person perform a highly skilled action, whether an Olympic diver executing a series of complex twists and somersaults or a professional chef tossing and stretching a ball of dough into a flawless pizza base, we are witnessing the outcome of what has likely been many hours of dedicated training, practice and trial and error learning. We are also observing the (highly refined) result of the human brain’s ability to translate perception into action, a fundamental biological process that is vital for us to survive and thrive in our complex social world. What is perhaps less often considered, however, is how our own embodied expertise and experiences shape how we perceive others in action. After presenting a brief overview of the history and state of the art on action-perception links from a psychological and neuroscientific perspective, I present a case for why examining experience-induced plasticity in action perception (as measured by behavioural and brain-based methods) is a fruitful avenue for studying the relationship between embodiment and expertise. I then highlight two separate research avenues that serve to highlight the scope and utility of studying embodied expertise: performing arts and robotics. Finally, this chapter concludes with some considerations for future neurocognitive research into the mechanisms supporting skill and expertise. In this chapter, the author presents a case for why examining experience-induced plasticity in action perception (as measured by behavioural and brain-based methods) is a fruitful avenue for studying the relationship between embodiment and expertise. She then highlights two separate research avenues that serve to highlight the scope and utility of studying embodied expertise: performing arts and robotics. Important for considerations of the role played by expertise in shaping the relationship between action and perception, a wealth of literature demonstrates that the more familiar an action is, the stronger the response is within these core sensorimotor regions. In addition to sensorimotor brain regions’ involvement in sharing experiences between actor and observer, successful interaction with others also entails taking an interaction partner’s perspective. Finally, the author concludes with some considerations for future neurocognitive research into the mechanisms supporting skill and expertise.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cross, Professor Emily
Authors: Cross, E. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Publisher:Routledge
ISBN:9781315180809

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