Thinking with Hands, Acting with Minds: Embodied Cognition and Creative Practice

  • Chris BaberEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 824)


Traditional conceptions of ‘creativity’ assume that the creative person is able to imagine a finished product and then bring this forth through their skill in making things. This conception is also used to separate the ‘artist’ from the craft-worker. In this paper, I show how the developing theories of Embodied Cognition can illustrate when and how ‘creativity’ arises in the design and production of jewellery. I demonstrate the points at which creative reflection are acted upon (even when the jewellers might not be able to put their ‘cognition’ into words). I argue that not only does Embodied Cognition provide a clear and parsimonious account of how jewellers create their objects, but that it also provides a strong and compelling theoretical basis for Ergonomics. By marrying our understanding of how people physically interact with their tools and the world around them, with our understanding of how goal-directed actions are performed, the theory of Embodied Cognition is fundamental in shaping Ergonomics’ ability to explain and analyse human activity.


Tool use Embodied Cognition Craftwork Creativity 1/f scaling Uncontrolled Manifold Hypothesis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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