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Enactive Theory and Empathy

An Enactive Theory of Social Cognition
by

Tram Ho Dac

on 13 June 2013

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Transcript of Enactive Theory and Empathy

THANK YOU!!!
Enactive Theory – and now?
The Mind–Life Continuity Hypothesis [2]
Enactive Approach to Cognitive Science
Autopoiesis
& Autonomy
What is Life?
The Living Being
Brain, Body &
the class of living systems is characterized by the
organizational structure
of living beings
Autopoiesis
is an abstract description of

any
self-organizing system
:
Cognition is "laying down a path in walking" [1], p.237
Dependendent
Co-Origination
The Living Cell
single-cell organisms are the simplest systems that exhibit autopoietic self-organization
are autopoietic; i.e. generate + maintain themselves
are adaptive; i.e. self-regulating responses to environmental perturbations assure self-continuance
are autonomous as they specify their domain of interactions; i.e. the world becomes meaningful with respect to the organism's needs; example: sugar
Structural Coupling
: a history of recurrent interactions that reciprocally modifies two systems leads to a structural congruence
What is Cognition?
Enactive Cognition
Self and World
Phenomenology
Human Experience
Contemplative Practices
"we see our bodies both as physical structures and as lived, experiential structures – in short, as both 'outer' and 'inner', biological and phenomenological" [1], p.10
Mindfulness Awareness Meditation

method that enables a structured and careful analysis of our ongoing and from moment to moment arising experiences
Cognitivism
Connectionism
Embodied
Dynamicism
Shift of
Paradigms
(I)
boundary
=
cell membrane
(II)
closed dynamics
=
metabolic processes
inside the cell
(III) circularity + self-maintenance
enables
participates
produces
system, in which the
molecular components
of the boundary are generated by the metabolic processes of the system itself
circular network of
chemical reactions
, which is enabled by the cell membrane assuring the structural unity of the system
Bibliography
[1] Varela, F.J., Thompson, E., Rosch E., 1993. The Embodied Mind. Program. MIT Press.

[2] Thompson, E., 2007. Mind in Life. Cambridge, MA., Ch.1

[3] Maturana, H., Varela, F. J., 1987. The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding. Shambhala Publications, Inc.

[4] Thompson, E. & Stapleton, M., 2009. Making Sense of Sense-Making: Reflections on Enactive and Extended Mind Theories. Topoi, 28, pp.23–30.

[5] Thompson, E., 2011. Précis of Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 18(5-6).
Metaphores of the Mind
[1], [2], [5]
The Mind is a Digital Computer
Mind = Embodied Dynamical System
cognition emerges from autonomous embodied sensori-motor coupling with an environment
The Mind is a Neural Network
cognition emerges from self-organizing, dynamic changes of weights on the connections between many simple neuron-like units
dependent on learning rules + history of activity
symbol
manipulation
machine
input
(sensory)
output
(motor)
The Nervous System
[1]
[3]
[2], [3]
[1], [2], [4]
[1]
input
output
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
. . .
x
backpropagation
no longer sequential and symbolic;
but: the mind is still
representational
,
skull-bound
and subpersonal
living
body
nervous system
environment
of the organism
symbolic and sequential
–> subsymbolic + dynamic processing
[2]
Adaptive Autonomy
for a system to be autonomous, it must be able to generate and sustain its own activity
living
body
neural activity
world of meaning
cognition is grounded in the living being's autonomous agency (autopoiesis + adaptation)

emerges from patterns of sensori-motor coupling between organism and environment

in which the being learns the contingencies between perception and action
living
organism
nervous system
environment
of the organism
determines
brings forth
sensori-
motor
coupling
1. Living beings are autonomous agents
it is a circular, self-referential and reentrant network of interacting neurons
it is autonomous, as it generates and maintains its own patterns of on-going endogenous activity
and creates temporally coherent and meaningful patterns and does not internally represent an external world
2. The nervous system is an autonomous
dynamic system
neural
assembly
nervous system
neural
assembly
modifies
specifies
environment
with affordances for the organism
requires
adaptation
brings forth
meaning
living organism =
autonomous
system
3. Cognition is the autonomous exercise of skillful
know-how in embodied and situated contexts
informs
modulates
world is no external prespecified domain with definite properties that are independent from the cognitive being

mind is no internal representation as mental recovery of the world

but mind and world form a mutually specifying relational domain that is enacted by the history of the constant coupling between autonomous being + niche with affordances
4. Living beings enact a world of meaning in sense-making
5. Phenomenal experience is no epiphenomenon,
but central to any understanding of the mind
(1) constitute the system as a
unity
in whatever domain they exist
(2) recursively depend on each other for their generation and their realization as a network
(3) determine a
domain

of possible interactions
with the world
operationally closed
constituent processes must
manage and control the flow of energy and matter through the system, in order to
maintain internal
self-constructive
processes
regulate
exchange processes
with the environment
thermodynamically open
network of processes must
self-producing
(autopoietic) +
adaptive system
,
which by its activity brings forth its own cognitive domain
structure =
molecular components
=>
structural unity
network of activity =
chemical reactions
=>
operational closure
mutual specification
Enactivism aims at relating Embodied Dynamicism with
life
and
human experience
representational and skull-bound
–> embodied + situated cognition
unconscious and subpersonal
–> phenomenal + lived experience
(I) unity and identity
(II) structural and operational closure
(III) circularity, self-referential dynamics
Autopoiesis is the organizational feature that defines the class of
living beings
consider the example of a living cell . . .
cognition is an ability of the whole
embodied
organism,
situated
in the world
niche with
affordances
cognition is
sense-making
, i.e. bringing forth –
enacting

a world of meaning,
or: "laying down a path in walking"!
[4]
Cognition is information processing:
sequential
, disembodied, and unconscious
physical-symbol manipulation
[6] Thompson, E. & Zahavi, D., 2006. Philosophical Issues: Phenomenology. The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness, 67-88.

[7] Gallagher, S. & Zahavi, D., 2008. The Phenomenological Mind. Routledge, Ch.1 & 2.

[8] Thompson, E., 2004. Life and mind: From Autopoiesis to Neurophenomenology. A tribute to Francisco Varela. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, pp.381–398.

[9] http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/

[10] http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/husserl/
I. Phenomenology
as a philosophical tradition
as a methodology
as descriptions of phenomenal experience
II. An Integrative Account?
The Phenomenological Tradition
The Phenomenological Method
Edmund Husserl
Martin Heidegger
Maurice Merleau-Ponty
study of phenomena from the
first-person perspective
of lived experience
studies the ways how things appear or are disclosed to us in our experience (vs. what things are)
types of experiences, e.g. imagination, perception, recollection, dreaming, emotion, awareness of time, body, self,...
Consciousness beyond Dichotomies
(Cognitive) Science
& Human Experience
Environment
* 1859 Proßnitz
t 1938 Freiburg im Breisgau
natural attitude
: unreflective realistic assumption
vs.
phenomenological attitude
: critical scrutiny of the own conditions of possibility
phenomenological reduction
: "back to the things themselves"
Transcendental P.
experience is grounded in the
structures
of our consciousness
correlational
act-object
structure of
intentionality
* 1889 Meßkirch
t 1976 Freiburg im Breisgau
Being
is what has to be presupposed in every experience
"Dasein" is
being-in-the-world
: we come into existence in a biologically and socio-culturally pre-structured world, in which we are practically engaged
human being is
caring
for the own being
"Umwelt"
: an environment for an organism that has meaning for that being
* 1908 Rochefort-sur-Mer
t 1961 Paris
Realism
Idealism
Objectivism
world has external pre-given mind-independent properties
mind recovers these properties in a mental representation
problem: materialistic C?
Subjectivism
mind constitutes the world as we experience it
world is a reflection of the inner laws of the mind

problem: solipsistic C?
Phenomenology
AN INTEGRATIVE THEORY OF THE MIND
Computational
Functional Mind
Phenomenological
Experiential Mind
Third-person perspective
First-person perspective
Phenomenology
Contemplative Traditions
=> the mind is an
object in the world
"subjective"
analytical method?
"steps towards a middle way"
Cognitive Science
Psychology
Neuroscience
"objective"
scientific
method
=> the mind is a
subject for the world
W M
?
World Mind
Life Being Body
Structures of Consiousness
Enactment
definite entities
deterministic laws
mechanistic
?
holistic
experiential
conscious
=> analysis of the experience of phenomena as they present themselves in the subject's C, hence of the
world-as-experienced
=> instead of assuming an objective
world-in-itself
that is mind-independent
=> experience leads back to (re-ducere) the subject to whom the object appears
=>
transcendental
phenomenology: primacy of experience, which hence cannot be treated as a mere epiphenomenon but is the source of knowledge
=> being and action in an intersubjectively shared world background
stresses the
body
as condition of possibility for conscious experience
embodiment in a double sense:
biological structure
point of view on the world
P. of Embodiment
=>
self
is conceived as both:
an object within the world
a subject for the world
analytic technique to investigate experience:
procedure: step back from theoretical speculation and scrutinize experience as foundation of knowledge
mind and world are two mutually dependent poles
bound together in: intentionality, being, body
constitute
intend
bring forth
Objective World
Subjective Mind
ENACTIVISM
Problems of Classical Social Cognition Theories
Observational Perspective
ENACTIVE
SOCIAL COGNITION

P distinguishes between n=2 alternatives
generated information = log 2 = 1 bit
I distinguish between x>>2 alternative states
generated information = log x –> bit
IIT &
Enactive Theory
TONONI: Integrated Information Theory
Phenomenology of Consciousness
Mathematical Quantification
Neuroscientific Evidence
Qualitative Experience
of Consciousness
Integrated Information Theory (IIT)
IIT is an attempt to understand consciousness at the fundamental – necessarily theoretical – level
Hypothesis: Consciousness (C) is Integrated Information (II)
quantity
of C –> amount of
integrated information
generated by the system X(mech,x1) as a whole
quality
of C –> set of
informational relationships
Use phenomenological thought experiments to claim that information + integration are core properties of
experience
The Photodiode & Information
photodiode P and humans both discriminate between light/dark
How does IIT explain that only we have an
experience
of light?
classical information
= reduction of uncertainty log n
The Camera & Integration
camera C can discriminate between a variety of different frames
How does IIT explain that C does not experience?
integrated information
emerges from the interaction of the parts in an unseparable whole
Effective Information

actual repertoire
a(Xo(mech,x1))


potential repertoire
p(Xo(maxH))


effective information
ei(X(mech,x1))
=
relative entropy
H[a||p] = log a/p
Integrated Information
integrated information = relative enthropy
between
actual distribution of the system a(Xo(mech,x1))
product of the actual distributions of the single parts
parts are specified by the
minimum information partition
(MIP) that decomposes the system into its minimal parts
Complexes
complex:
set of elements that generates some amount of II that is not contained in a larger set with higher II
Computer Models & Neural Circuits
IIT prediction: "Clearly, for integrated information to be high, a system must be connected in such a way that information is generated by causal interactions
among
rather than
within
its parts." (p.220f)
Experience & Qualia Space
Qualia Space Q


Set of all IR
Phenomenology & Geometry
Two Theories of Consciousness
Parallel between
integrated information
&
sense-making
Phenomenological Thought Experiments
IIT is a theoretical framework of C that (i) starts from the phenomenology of experience and (ii) is necessary to complement empirical facts
Consciousness is
information
I
(i) quantifiable by the
entropy function
and (ii) determined by the system's
mechanism
2
"[IIT] says that the more specifically one’s
mechanisms
discriminate between what pure light is and what it is not (the more they specify what light
means),
the more one is
conscious
of it" (p.218)
[11] Tononi, G., 2008. Consciousness as integrated information: a provisional manifesto. The Biological Bulletin, 215(3), 216–242.

[12] Gallagher, S., 2012. In defense of phenomenological approaches to social cognition: interacting with the critics. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 1–26.

[13] Zahavi, D., 2008. Simulation , projection and empathy. Consciousness and Cognition, 17, 514–522.

[14] Zahavi, D., 2010. Empathy and direct social perception: A phenomenological proposal. Review Literature and Arts of the Americas, 1–34.

[15] Gallese, V. et.al., 2004. A unifying view of the basis of social cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(9), 396–403.

[16] Singer, T. et.al., 2004. Empathy for pain involves the affective but not sensory components of pain. Science (New York, N.Y.), 303(5661), 1157–1162.

[17] Singer, T., & Lamm, C., 2009. The social neuroscience of empathy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1156, 81–96
.
[18] Walter, H., 2012. Social Cognitive Neuroscience of Empathy: Concepts, Circuits, and Genes. Emotion Review, 4(1), 9–17.

[19] De Jaegher, H., & Di Paolo, E., 2008. Making sense in participation: An enactive approach to social cognition. Emerging Communication, 10, 33.

[20] Fuchs, T., & De Jaegher, H., 2009. Enactive intersubjectivity: Participatory sense-making and mutual incorporation. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 8(4), 465–486.
Consciousness is
integrated information II
that emerges from a
complex
of inseparably
entangled elements
single elements of C perform independent local discrimination
phenomenologically, we have a single unified point of view and our experience is holistic
mechanically, causally interacting brain states generate I beyond the I generated by the separate parts
effective information ei
corresponds to the
relative entropy
relative amount of reduced uncertainty
between the actual and the potential distribution of a system's X possible prior states x0
2
actual probability distribution
specified by the system's mechanism + current state x1
maximum entropy distribution
all possible states of the system with equal probabilities
state x0 ––mechanism––> state x1
integrated information
quantifies "the information generated by a system, above and beyond the information generated independently by its parts" (p.221)
"
how
integrated information is generated within a complex determines not only the amount of consciousness it has, but also what kind of consciousness" (p.224)
main complex
all its subcomplexes generate strictly less II
underlies the main experience at a given point in time
causal connections to ports-in/ports-out can influence its state
but do not constitute the conscious experience
Cortico-Thalamic Loop (CTL)
brain activity ~ experience:
severe impairments of the CTL leads to a loss of C

neural connectivity ~ amount of II:
mammalian CTL shows the characteristic architecture of local functional specialization + global integration
Afferent/Efferent Pathways (A/E)
Cortical-Subcortical Loops (CSL)
high II requires a combination of:
high functional
specialization
–> low II for subcomplexes
high functional
integration
–> high II for whole complex
IIT of consciousness
predicts
and can
explain
various empirical observations of neural correlates of consciousness
Cerebellar System (CS)
brain activity ~ experience:
CS does not essentially contribute to C
despite its high number of neurons

neural connectivity ~ amount of II:
CS shows a strong functional segregation into independent patches with high II
brain activity ~ experience:
A/E do not directly contribute to conscious experience


neural connectivity ~ amount of II:
units on A/E pathways are not integrated in the main complex
brain activity ~ experience:
insulated CSL might constitute subconscious processes, but do not contribute to C
but can interfere with C

neural connectivity ~ amount of II:
additional parallel circuits do not add to the structure of the main complex
although they alter the II value
However, Enactive Theory stresses the necessity of a biological
living body embedded
into a natural environment, while Tononi does not exclude the possibilities of
conscious artifacts
(given the adequate mechanism) or
solipsistic minds
(II is completely intrinsic)
Phenomenological ––> Geometrical properties
modalities (sight, sound,...) ––> modes/sub-shapes
submodalities ––> submodes/ sub-sub-shapes
categories ––> basic structures (grids, pyramids,...)
Importance of context
full context ––> r strongly shapes a
codes the "redness" of red
~ achromatopsic patients
null context ––> shape collapses
~ vegetative patients
aim: characterize the
phenomenological properties
generated by the brain mechanisms by
geometrical shapes
formed by q-arrows that represent
informational relationships
potential states n of the system ––> one dimension each
probability distribution opens an n-dimensional shape
q-arrow
= relative entropy between a and p
given by the mechanism (causal connections between the elements) + the current state of the system
q-edge
= concatenated q-arrows specifies the edges of the n-dimensional solid shape
p(X0(Hmax)) = bottom of the shape
a(Xo(mech,x1)) = top of the shape
each IR/ q-arrow shapes p into a
the
geometrical shape
of the solid in Q represents the
quality
of C; both are determined by the
set of all IRs
generated within the complex
Informational Relationship IR
"By subtraction, one may realize that our being conscious of “light” would degrade more and more — would lose its non-coloredness, its non-shapedness, would even lose its visualness — as its
meaning
is progressively stripped down to just “one of two ways,” as with the photodiode
.
" (p.218)
[11]
Individual Mechanisms
Insurmountable epistemic gulf between Self and Other
SOCIAL
COGNITION

Enactivist
Assumptions
Adaptation
Enactment
= cognitive ability to understand another person's emotions, desires, intentions, thoughts etc.
folk psychology is similar to a
scientific theory

explicit reasoning and inference-making

propositional
theorizing
about other's mental states
pragmatic ability
in social situations

act together, sustain
interactions
, and form relations
use our own mind as
inner model

mirror neurons as neural mechanism

offline implicit and
subpersonal simulation
Theory Theory of Mind
Simulation Theories
Interaction Theories
self-experience: direct perceptual knowledge about own mental states
from inside
(1st ps perspective)

experience of others: indirect knowledge about other mental states mediated by the observation of others' behavior
from outside
(3rd ps perspective)

necessity for an
Inference from Analogy
from self (own mind) to other minds from similar bodily behavior
How can we know of the
existence
of Other Minds in the first place?
What about
social interaction
?
Knowing Self and Other:
Mechanisms of Social Cognition:
mirror neurons
: fire during own action planning and execution + in response to the observation of another person's action
proposed as neural mechanism enabling us to understand other's action intentions
seminars 1+2
seminars 3+4
[1]
[1], [5], [6]
[7], [8], [9], [10]
meaning is intrinsic to the system

with its own point of view
knowledge emerges from system's functional organization
mechanisms lead to non-reducible emergent global properties
brain is a distributed, highly connective integrating organ
evolutionary adaptation of the system to its environment leads to an internalization of external organizational principles
[12]
[13]
[14]
[17]
[18]
mirror activity
in Anterior Insula
(AI)
and Anterior Cingulate Cortex
(ACC)
neural basis of emotion understanding in
empathy
The Shared Network Hypothesis
"[...] the understanding of basic aspects of social cognition depends on activation of neural structures normally involved in our own personally experienced actions or emotions." (p.400)
The Mirror Neuron System
[15]
Shared Activity in Emotion Network
The Interoceptive Model of Empathy
common neural activity in emotional networks during own experience and observation of affective states (e.g. pain), enables automatic affective sharing of the state
[15]
Why an Enactive Approach?
Short-comings of
Current Approaches
third-personal
observational
view neglects interaction

individualist, internalist, and
representationalist

narrow focus on
sophisticated
social cognitive abilities

disciplinary
disintegration
: natural / social sciences
Enactive Social Cognition
Embodied Mind


Social Interaction



Participatory Sense-making


Common Intercorporality
Summary & Conclusions
Enactive Interactive Social Cognition
Potentialities of the
Enactive Approach
active engagement
in sense-making through interaction

mutual coupling
between mind + world (incl. others)

accounts for practical engagement in
bodily action

integrating
individual cognition + interaction
no disembodied relation of two internally
hidden Cartesian minds
body is expressive of the mind ––> SC relies on the
expressive body
coordination
: dynamical co-regulated coupling between two agents
autonomy
: of participating agents and of the interaction process
––> social cognition is an individual and an
interactional process
process of interacting itself
dynamically transforms
individual meanings, intentions, and actions ––> can lead to
joint sense-making
phenomenological aspect of social interaction
––> lived bodies enter a
mutual incorporation
Empirical Studies of Social Cognition
theoretical framework can guide empirical research
example: developmental studies of mother-infant bonding
“social understanding [...] arises in the moment-to-moment [dynamical] interaction of two subjects.” ([20],466)
“[it is] a circular process in which the cogniser constantly influences the other by his actions [...], cognising and acting are interdependent, and there is no pregiven other.” ([20],469)
“intersubjectivity [...] means entering a process of embodied interaction and generating common meaning [participatory sense-making] through it.” ([20],465)
[19]
[20]
social cognition is grounded in this internal theory or model –> knowledge by
inference
or
projection
third-person paradigm:
passive observation
of other's external behavior –> internal mental representation
epoché: suspension of the natural attitude
phenomenological reduction: redirection
eidetic variation: finding the essence
intersubjective corroboration: verifying structures

=> refined and careful descriptions of types of experiences
(e.g. perception, imagination, recollection, intersubjectivity...)
and its structures (e.g. awareness of time, space, self, embodiment, other subjects,...)
careful description and
structural analysis
of consciousness
invariant essential structures of consciousness, e.g. intentionality
enabling conditions, e.g. embodiment, bodily skills, social practices (language), cultural and social background, context,...
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