Creativity in Motion

Some publications related to this topic:

Embodiment and Human Development

It is becoming increasingly accepted that the study of cognitive, social, and emotional processes must account for the embodiment of these processes in living, acting people. Within cognitive science, how bodily factors play a role in mental life is often considered through the lens of embodied cognition, which has become a major area of study in adults. Although the wider embodied cognition literature features different theoretical emphases, embodiment challenges the notion that the body simply provides input for a mind that operates as an isolated central processor of information.
Instead, one key theoretical concept in embodied cognition is that the body plays a constitutive role in cognition. A related theme is that cognition is not confined to a specific location but arises from the couplings among brain, body, and environment.
Although developmental aspects of embodiment have been discussed, developmental scientists may remain confused about the meaning and implications of this construct. To some, the suggestion that the body plays a role in cognitive development may not seem novel and may, in fact, be somewhat limiting.
Bodily action played a central role in Piaget’s theorizing about cognitive development, yet the influence of this line of thinking has diminished. Instead, much theorizing in cognitive development has turned toward information-processing and computational approaches that tend to downplay a role for embodiment.
That said, it could be argued that aspects of bodily action have been part of various lines of developmental research using dynamic systems methods. However, these approaches have often neglected to address a key aspect of what embodiment entails: How the developing organism constructs its known world.

Developmental scientists have begun to reconsider the question of how the body shapes conceptual and language development. Work in this area has gone beyond the predictions of information-processing accounts to show how sensorimotor experience and activity influence young children’s learning of words. Other work with infants shows how considerations of the developing body can inform theorizing about how infants learn from, and relate to, other people. From an embodied perspective, research with
infants is important to the question of how intentionality, in terms of symbolic, reflective knowledge, feeling, and meanings, emerges from engaged and embodied actions. The construct of embodiment is relevant to this question by affirming that from the beginning, bodily acts constrain and inform the nature of intentionality. That said, […] embodiment is important not just for one stage of the life span, but is fundamental to the study of human development more broadly.
Accepting the embodied nature of cognition opens new vistas for life-span developmental science. A fully embodied account of mental life allows for the lifelong construction of personal meaning by combining a rich social and cultural context with the activities allowed by the body and brain that characterize Homo sapiens. At a deeper level, it becomes evident that considerations of embodiment are not only relevant to the ontogeny of the individual but are also interwoven with the evolution of brains, bodies, and minds.
A wider acceptance of these deeper understandings about embodiment should inform and connect research across domains of development. If this can be achieved, a biologically based view of embodiment and human development can help forge a truly integrative science of life and mind.

Creativity in Motion: Examining the Creative Potential System and Enriched Movement Activities as a Way to Ignite It

The importance of creativity is increasing as it supports adaptability, health, and actualization.
The first goal of this paper is to review the creativity science literature to identify the elements that underpin the realization of an individual’s creative potential. The summary of the literature is presented using a framework which highlights the interactions between environmental elements (i.e., cultural values, social interactions, and material world) and actors’ elements (i.e., affective attributes and states, cognitive skills, and physical expression).

Interacting elements of the creative potential system.

Using a systemic perspective, the framework illustrates ‘what’ creativity enhancement interventions should aim for, to facilitate the emergence of creative actions.
Given the current lack of holistic, embodied, and interactive evidence-based interventions to nurture the creative potential elements identified, the second part of this review builds on movement sciences literature and physical literacy conceptualization to suggest that enriched movement activities are promising avenues to explore. Specifically, following non-linear pedagogy approaches, an intervention called movement improvisation is introduced.

Ecological dynamics principles are used to explain how improvising with movement in a risk-friendly environment can lead to cognitive, affective, social, and cultural repertoire expansion. To interrogate this argument further, the review concludes with possible solutions to withstand research challenges and raises future study questions.
Overall, combining creativity and movement sciences in this review demonstrates the potential for well-designed movement interventions to ignite creative potential for individuals and overcome the tendency to remain anchored in a state of inertia.

An example of a movement improvisation session mechanisms of change. The left intertwined strands image represents the pre-existing state of the creative potential system. Once the system is disrupted and challenged by a movement improvisation activity, the right part of the Figure presents the untied individual and environmental strands. We untied the strands to illustrate how the individual elements (black strand) and environmental elements (gray strand), while still interacting, hypothetically change on a time scale from a few seconds to a few hours.
The mid-line arrow illustrates the direction of the chronology of these changes. Also, the white space above the mid-line arrow shows the emerging observable motor behaviors while the white space below the arrow presents other behaviors expressed throughout the activity.

This review connects movement to existing theories of creativity to highlight which elements creative enhancement interventions should target, how enriched movement activities can be designed, and by which mechanisms it can nurture the creative potential system.
Although much work remains to be done to support these hypotheses, we believe that fostering creative potential through movement is a path worth exploring. Because while our world is in constant motion forcing our mind to sprint to find new ideas, our bodies have never been in such a state of inertia.

The Embodied Journey of an Idea: An Exploration of Movement Creativity in Circus Arts

There is more to creative activity than the having of ideas, and ideas are not always creative. Still, ideas may be involved in all creative efforts, at least early on”.
This paper broadens the concept of ‘creative idea’. Beyond mental schemas, we consider ideas embodied from the start. Studying the process of movement—both the movement of ideas and the emergence of ideas in movement—the current research calls for a dynamic and holistic approach to creativity in circus arts that certainly has a much wider applicability. Our conceptual and methodological approach was ultimately perspectival
in nature. The effort was to discover and place in dialogue as many meaningful perspectives as possible on the journey of ideas in ways that expand the space of possibility for all the creative actors involved, including the researchers themselves. It is not sufficient to claim that creative processes are embodied or nonlinear. We need approaches and methodologies able to ‘show’ these aspects and, as such, we need to integrate in our practice and our research more of those perspectives that would normally be otherwise silent or ignored.
In a world in which often the interest in creativity is driven by neoliberal and consumerist approaches, we are called to create and cherish those spaces of togetherness in which minds and bodies are intertwined in acts of possibility-making.

The social roots of self development: from a bodily to an intellectual
interpersonal dialogue

Interpersonal bodily interactions represent a fertile ground in which the bodily and psychological self is developed, gradually allowing for forms of more abstract and disembodied interactions:
– Early infant–caregiver bodily interactions play a crucial role in shaping the boundaries of the self but also in learning to predict others’ behavior.
– Social function of the sense of touch in the entire life span, highlighting its role in promoting physical and psychological well-being by supporting positive interpersonal exchanges.
– Implicit theory of mind, as the early ability to interpret others’ intentions, possibly grounded in infant caregiver bodily exchanges (embodied practices).
– Higher level forms of social interaction: intellectual exchanges among individuals. In this regard, beside the apparent private dimension of “thinking abstractly”, using abstract concepts is intrinsically a social process, as it entails the re-enactment of the internalized dialogue through which we acquired the concepts in the first place.
– The hypothesis of “dialectical attunement” may explain the development of abstract thinking: to effectively transform the world according to their survival needs, individuals co-construct structured concepts of it; by doing so, humans fundamentally transform not merely the world they are being in, but their being in the world.

“Through others we become ourselves”.

Vygotsky (1896–1936)

The sensorimotor anticipation of the action’s outcome permits regulating the interactive behavior with objects and individuals by guaranteeing the prompt unfolding of coherent and appropriate motor chains. However, when processing an abstract word, e.g., “justice”, instead of the predicted sensorimotor expectations on the objectual referent, the reactualization of the linguistic experience through which we have learned the abstract concept will lead to the validation of a new contextualized meaning. Put simply, we would internally “talk to ourselves” about a specific meaning to better master it.

In this regard, the social metacognition proposal explains the role of inner speech during the processing of abstract concepts by invoking three different mechanisms: we might
(i) prepare ourselves to ask another individual information to fill the gap of the knowledge or to negotiate the word meaning with others (social metacognition),
(ii) to re-explain to ourselves the abstract concepts’ meaning by collecting sparse informations,
(iii) simulate the dialogical experience through which we have learned in a first place the abstract concept.
All these—not mutually exclusive—mechanisms clearly express how a dialogical practice can be interiorized (internalization process) and then re-enacted to flexibly provide a space of negotiation, re-calibration and social validation of a mental product, i.e., a meaning evoked by a concept, to better represent the reality (externalization process).

The processes of self-construction and self-regulation evolve in and through social interaction.
Before the development of linguistic competences, at first, we are connected with the caregiver through direct bodily exchanges; only later in life we will experience what we called intellectual exchanges, “more disembodied and abstracted interactions”, that is without the need for constant bodily contact. Indeed, through the embodied interactions and relationships with others, we eventually understand who we are, then with the development of language and other interpersonal cognitive functions, we culturally act in the world, we build and negotiate new meanings, we create abstract concepts, norms and conventions and by doing so we move toward increasing abstraction and symbolization. This level of maturation
is reached through “dialectical attunement”: a dialectic of internalization and externalization, unfolded across various scales.
According to this view, we bodily internalize the statistical regularities of our sensorimotor interactions continuously building up expectations about the world, others and ourselves, while we actively modify the environment to make it conform to our expectations.
Different facets of sociality impact human development and we do believe that future research should better focus on the interrelation between embodied and intellectual exchanges across both an individual and a collective scale.
In a nutshell, exploring how individuals interact with each other, across the different phases of life, will help to not only shine light on the social mechanisms of human communication, but also better understand how we actually become ourselves.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: