Cognitive Processing

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 79–91 | Cite as

Cognition as coordinated non-cognition

  • Lawrence W. BarsalouEmail author
  • Cynthia Breazeal
  • Linda B. Smith


We propose that cognition is more than a collection of independent processes operating in a modular cognitive system. Instead, we propose that cognition emerges from dependencies between all of the basic systems in the brain, including goal management, perception, action, memory, reward, affect, and learning. Furthermore, human cognition reflects its social evolution and context, as well as contributions from a developmental process. After presenting these themes, we illustrate their application to the process of anticipation. Specifically, we propose that anticipations occur extensively across domains (i.e., goal management, perception, action, reward, affect, and learning) in coordinated manners. We also propose that anticipation is central to situated action and to social interaction, and that many of its key features reflect the process of development.


Coordination Development Embodiment Robotics Situated cognition Social interaction 



DARPA contract BICA FA8650-05-C-7255 awarded to three authors supported their collaboration on this project. In addition, Lawrence Barsalou was supported by DARPA contract FA8650-05-C-7256 and National Science Foundation Grant BCS-0212134. We are grateful to Arthur Glenberg and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on a draft of this article.


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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence W. Barsalou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cynthia Breazeal
    • 2
  • Linda B. Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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