Embodied Communication: Vivid Interactions With History And Literature

Start Date: 04/01/2006
End Date: 09/01/2008

The PI believes research in human-computer interaction is on the cusp of solidifying a paradigm of embodied cognition that emphasizes the role of bodily reality in the creation of meaning, which constitutes the essence of our thought and experience. When we speak, our heads, eyes, bodies, arms, hands, and face are brought into the service of communication. There is substantial evidence that communication does not exist for us separately from its embodied roots. The cognitive and perceptual resources of attention (both visual and conceptual), working memory, long-term memory, temporal sequencing, language processes, touch, internal physiological experience, and proprioception must be considered together to understand the range of meanings a behavior has to the actor and receiver in a situation. The PI recently submitted a proposal entitled "CRI: Interfaces for the Embodied Mind" by means of which he was able to secure funds for the acquisition of equipment necessary to exploring ideas such as those outlined above, but not for the exciting applications he envisages in collaboration with partner institutions. The supplemental funding provided by this SGER will enable the PI to explore the implications of embodied interaction technology to communication in the domain of the liberal arts, specifically through participant and travel funding to support collaborative projects: (a) with Prof. Cassandra Newby-Alexander and others in Norfolk State University's Department of History who are investigating the Underground Railroad network in the four large urban slave centers of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Richmond, and Petersburg; and (b) with Prof. Pinckney Benedict of Hollins University's English Department on a pilot project in which two or more creative writing students develop an embodied adaptation of James Joyce's classic short story "Araby" which is rich in concrete environmental cues and written in a dreamlike narrative style that lends itself gracefully to nonlinear storytelling. Each project will involve two faculty and two student members from the partner organization, along with students and faculty from Virginia Tech.

Grant Institution: National Science Foundation

Amount: $103,839

People associated with this grant:

Francis Quek