From jointly enacting affect-imbued action-arcs to systemically-structured sense-and-action-scapes: how infants come to co-create a shared object-world to engage with
University of Portsmouth
Oct. 11, 2018, 9 a.m. UTC // Oct. 11, 2018, 5 a.m. in America/New_York
How do we arrive at a shared object-world we can jointly navigate in, engage with and through, and shape together? Language, symbol-use, tool and conventional object use, planning and collaboratively taking over a part in a complex structured activity - commonly considered prime examples of so called “higher cognition”, hallmarks and engines of cumulative culture creation and particular challenges for embodied cogsci approaches -, they all can be seen as instances of co-creating an object-world.
Exploring how we arrive there from a developmental perspective, we soon encounter a conceptual and methodological fault line (characteristic of cognitive science in general?): while young infants’ early forms of engagement have been productively addressed by interaction oriented (e.g. dynamical systems) approaches, infants’ engagement from the end of the first year on is predominantly addressed in cognitive frameworks (in terms of structured knowledge and rational action of an individual mind), which makes these complex forms of engagement seem to appear abruptly and late and makes accounting for their development difficult.
Here I would like to contribute a developmental view to current efforts to build an integrative approach to address participatory sense- and world-making both at fundamental levels observed from early on, as well as more complex forms we start to see later - and trace their development.
I invite you to jointly engage with these phenomena in a broad, embodied way - complementing conceptual engagement with engaging via example videos of rich naturalistic interaction. We will look and ask: How does the co-regulation of joint infant-caregiver-object engagement in naturalistic everyday settings change over the course of the first year? What are the challenges inherent in practicing these activities and how are the increasingly complex forms of co-regulation achieved? What is the role of structures in this process, which form the cultural contexts constraining and enabling infants’ actions from the beginning, which are continuously being co-created and developed in infant-caregiver interactions and which - becoming further reified over time - increasingly make up a (somewhat autonomous) object-world to jointly engage with, as well as furnish the "means" to regulate that engagement?
On this basis we will sketch a developmental trajectory, explore what concepts are needed to distinctively characterize and account for the different forms of co-regulation observed, and together "compare notes" with regard to related concepts already developed by enactivist approaches.