Cognitive Semiotics Seminar: "What it is like to be a gesturer? Towards first-person methods"(Prof. Piotr Konderak, Lublin)

23 November 2023 15:00 to 17:00 Seminar

Our close collaborator in cognitive semiotics, and friend, from University Marie Curie Sklodowska in Lublin, Poland, Prof. Piotr Konderak is visiting us this week, and will present ongoing work this highly relevant - thematically and methodologically! All are warmly welcome, preferably "In Real Life" in H402, or else on the usual zoom link. There will be a "post-seminar" after the talk at Valvet. Please me (Jordan) know if you wish to attend, by Nov 21.

Spontaneous gesturing (McNeill 1992, Muller 2018) is an embodied activity, dependent on social, cultural, but also physical context. A gesturing subject is engaged in the world, and thus action oriented. This is why spontaneous gesturing seems to be a particularly interesting example of meaning-making activity in the context of a new approach to cognitive science: a non-cognitivist one. Such an approach shares certain assumptions with experientially focused, embodied and situated approaches (Thompson 2007). For such a “new science of mind” (Rowlands 2010), the insights of phenomenological philosophy are significant.

Accepting the claim that we as gesturers are, primarily, body-subjects, I interpret Gallagher's distinction between body schema and body image in terms of gestural meaning-making. The presented observations provide some implications for experimental design (Gallagher 2003). I argue that studies on gesturing require an established, systematic, qualitative approach, aiming at understanding the first-person perspective by means of intersubjective inquiry and analysis. There is a number of phenomenologically oriented qualitative approaches to meaning-making activities. I present one of them: IPA, Interpre(ta)tive Phenomenological Analysis (Larkin et al. 2011, Smith & Nizza 2022) as a possible approach to studies (documenting and understanding) on people's lived experience. IPA is based on the three theoretical foundations: phenomenology, hermeneutics and ideography. First, it focuses on first-person account of embodied experiences, second it involves interpretation on the part of both: participant and researcher. Finally, IPA consists of the ideographic, case-by-case process to show convergence and differentiation in participants experience (Smith et al. 2022). I present the main stages of IPA study, including: a design of an IPA study, data collecting process as well as data analysis including cross-case analysis.



Gallagher, S. (2003). Phenomenology and experimental design. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 10(9–10), 85–99.

Gallagher, S. (2005). How the Body Shapes the Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Larkin, M., Eatough, V. & Osborn, M. (2011). Interpretative phenomenological analysis and embodied, active, situated cognition. Theory & Psychology, 1-20.

McNeill, D. (1992). Hand and Mind. What Gestures Reveal About Thought. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Muller, C. (2018). Gesture and Sign: Cataclysmic Break or Dynamic Relations? Frontiers in Psychology 9.

Rowlands, M. (2010). The New Science of the Mind. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Shapiro, L. (2011). Embodied Cognition. New York: Routledge.

Smith, J.A. & Nizza, I.E. (2022). Essentials of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Washington: American Psychological Association.

Thompson, E. (2007). Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology and the Sciences of Mind. London: Belknap Press.

About the event:

23 November 2023 15:00 to 17:00

IRL: room H402, online: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/61502831303


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