Erik Leemhuis, Mariella Pazzaglia

How tools become me

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Embodiment; Tool-Embodiment; Re-Embodiment; Affordances; Neurological Rehabilitation; Spinal Cord Injury; Body Representations; Body Image; Body Schema; Body Extension; Prosthesis; Wheelchair.

«Embodiment» is a term that highlights how our sense of the body is plastic and can be extended beyond the biological self to incorporate a salient tool. Theoretical bases are grounded in the widely discussed concepts of embodiment, tool use, and body representation. To support these claims, we will first explore highlight a pathway in the confusing scenario of the consequences of dynamic bodily representations. The primary interest is to explore the potentialities of embodiment, and to assess human experiences that can be directly measured concerning partial or complete bodily illusions. Next we will focus on tools and their classification criteria, identifying theoretically useful and clear relationships between technology and the body. The third part of the paper will capture the occurrences of unique identifiable experiences of the body tool and perceptual and motor disabilities. The aim is to propose some points of view about the implications for the incorporation of an external assistive device in the representation of a «new» sense of one's own body. Empirical evidence supports the argued topics, suggesting that the facilitation of embodiment processes that use tools, prostheses, and other technological devices is synthesized from complex multisensory mechanisms that find their bases both in the person and the object. Following this path, clinical research will face the need to understand the exact mechanisms involved in improving the embodiment of sophisticated biotechnologies combining multidisciplinary studies.

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