Being-in-the-world-with: Presence meets social and cognitive neuroscience

In Riva, Prof. G. (2006) Being-in-the-World-With: Presence Meets Social and Cognitive Neuroscience. [Book Chapter] (2006)
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In this chapter we will discuss the concepts of “presence” (Inner Presence) and “social presence” (Co-presence) within a cognitive and ecological perspective. Specifically, we claim that the concepts of “presence” and “social presence” are the possible links between self, action, communication and culture. In the first section we will provide a capsule view of Heidegger’s work by examining the two main features of the Heideggerian concept of “being”: spatiality and “being with”. We argue that different visions from social and cognitive sciences – Situated Cognition, Embodied Cognition, Enactive Approach, Situated Simulation, Covert Imitation - and discoveries from neuroscience – Mirror and Canonical Neurons - have many contact points with this view. In particular, these data suggest that our conceptual system dynamically produces contextualized representations (simulations) that support grounded action in different situations. This is allowed by a common coding – the motor code – shared by perception, action and concepts. This common coding also allows the subject for natively recognizing actions done by other selves within the phenomenological contents. In this picture we argue that the role of presence and social presence is to allow the process of self-identification through the separation between “self” and “other,” and between “internal” and “external”. Finally, implications of this position for communication and media studies are discussed by way of conclusion.



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