Understanding Minds in Real-World Environments: Toward a Mobile Cognition Approach



Ladouce S, Donaldson D, Dudchenko P & Ietswaart M (2017) Understanding Minds in Real-World Environments: Toward a Mobile Cognition Approach. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, Art. No.: 694.

There is a growing body of evidence that important aspects of human cognition have been marginalized, or overlooked, by traditional cognitive science. In particular, the use of laboratory-based experiments in which stimuli are artificial, and response options are fixed, inevitably results in findings that are less ecologically valid in relation to real-world behavior. In the present review we highlight the opportunities provided by a range of new mobile technologies that allow traditionally lab-bound measurements to now be collected during natural interactions with the world. We begin by outlining the theoretical support that mobile approaches receive from the development of embodied accounts of cognition, and we review the widening evidence that illustrates the importance of examining cognitive processes in their context. As we acknowledge, in practice, the development of mobile approaches brings with it fresh challenges, and will undoubtedly require innovation in paradigm design and analysis. If successful, however, the mobile cognition approach will offer novel insights in a range of areas, including understanding the cognitive processes underlying navigation through space and the role of attention during natural behavior. We argue that the development of real-world mobile cognition offers both increased ecological validity, and the opportunity to examine the interactions between perception, cognition and action—rather than examining each in isolation.

mobile brain imaging; cognitive neuroscience; ecological validity; EEG; embodiment; situated cognition

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience: Volume 10

Publication date12/01/2017
Publication date online12/01/2017
Date accepted by journal29/12/2016
PublisherFrontiers Media

People (2)


Professor Paul Dudchenko
Professor Paul Dudchenko

Professor, Psychology

Dr Magdalena Ietswaart
Dr Magdalena Ietswaart

Senior Lecturer, Psychology