Cooperative work and lived cognition: a taxonomy of embodied actions

Robertson, T. Cooperative work and lived cognition: a taxonomy of embodied actions. In ECSCW’97: Proceedings of the fifth conference on European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (Norwell, MA, USA, 1997), Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 205–220. [pdf]


This paper presents a taxonomy for embodied actions developed through ethnographic observations. The authors recogize the importance of  the body as the essential basis of all human action and interaction. The defining constraint of technology which aims to support collaborative work at a distance must be the essential corporeality of human cognition.

Embodied actions are defined as classes of cognitive practices that are pubblically and simultaneously available to the perception of the actor and ohers in a shared physical space.

The author defines a specific category for embodied actions in relation to the workplace where we can find pointing at something and shifting direction of gaze.

Precisely these all the defined categories function as a communicative actions in shared physical space because physical space enables the reversibility of perception. This is not a given fact in virtual space.

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