Remember Me
Or use your Academic/Social account:


Or use your Academic/Social account:


You have just completed your registration at OpenAire.

Before you can login to the site, you will need to activate your account. An e-mail will be sent to you with the proper instructions.


Please note that this site is currently undergoing Beta testing.
Any new content you create is not guaranteed to be present to the final version of the site upon release.

Thank you for your patience,
OpenAire Dev Team.

Close This Message


Verify Password:
Verify E-mail:
*All Fields Are Required.
Please Verify You Are Human:
fbtwitterlinkedinvimeoflicker grey 14rssslideshare1
Markussen, Thomas (2009)
Languages: English
Types: Unknown

The aim of this paper is above all critically to examine and clarify some of the negative implications that the idea of ‘embodied meaning’ has for the emergent field of interaction design research.

Originally, the term ‘embodied meaning’ has been brought into HCI research from phenomenology and cognitive semantics in order to better understand how user’s experience of new technological systems relies to an increasing extent on full-body interaction. Embodied approaches to technology design could thus be found in Winograd & Flores (1986), Dourish (2001), Lund (2003), Klemmer, Hartman & Takayama (2006), Hornecker & Buur (2006), Hurtienne & Israel (2007) among others.

However, fertile as this cross-disciplinary import may be, design research can generally be criticised for being ‘undisciplined’, because of its tendency merely to take over reductionist ideas of embodied meaning from those neighbouring disciplines without questioning the inherent limitations it thereby subscribe to.

In this paper I focus on this reductionism and what it means for interaction design research. I start out by introducing the field of interaction design and two central research questions that it raises. This will serve as a prerequisite for understanding the overall intention of bringing the notion of ‘embodied meaning’ from cognitive semantics into design research. Narrowing my account down to the concepts of ‘image schemas’ and their ‘metaphorical extension’, I then explain in more detail what is reductionistic about the notion of embodied meaning. Having done so, I shed light on the consequences this reductionism might have for design research by examining a recently developed framework for intuitive user interaction along with two case examples. In so doing I sketch an alternative view of embodied meaning for interaction design research.

Interaction Design, Embodied Meaning, Tangible User Interaction, Design Theory, Cognitive Semiotics

  • The results below are discovered through our pilot algorithms. Let us know how we are doing!

    • Dourish, P. (2001). Where the action is: the foundation of embodied interaction. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Pr.
    • Gibbs, R. W. (2005). Embodiment and Cognitive Science. Cambridge U. Pr.
    • Gibbs, R. W. & Colston, H. L. (2006). The Cognitive Psychological Reality of Image Schemas and their Transformations. In D. Geeraerts Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings (pp. 239-268). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. (Original work published 1995 in Cognitive Linguistics) Hornecker, E. & Buur, J. (2006). Getting a grip on tangible interaction: a framework on physical space and social interaction. CHI 2006 Proceedings.
    • Hurtienne, J. & Israel, J. H. (2007). Image schemas and their metaphorical extensions: intuitive patterns for tangible interaction. Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction. ACM Press.
    • Imaz, M. & Benyon, D. (2007). Designing with Blends: Conceptual Foundations of Human-Computer Interaction and Software Engineering. MIT Press.
    • Johnson, M. (1987). The Body in the Mind. The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination and Reason. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Pr.
    • Kimmel, M. (2005). Culture Regained - Situated and Compound Image Schemas. B. Hampe (ed.) From Perception to Meaning. Image Schemas in Cogntive Linguistics (pp. 285-312). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    • Klemmer, S., B. Hartmann & Takayama, L. (2006). How Bodies Matter: Five Themes for Interaction Design. DIS 2006 (pp. 140-149). Pennsylvania: ACM.
    • Krippendorff, K. (1989). On the Essential Contexts of Artefacts. In V. Margolin & R. Buchanan (eds.) The Idea of Design, 1995, 156-184.
    • Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors We Live By. The University of Chicago Pr.
    • Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. What Categories Reveal About the Mind. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Pr.
    • Lund, A. (2003). Massification of the Intangible: An investigation into embodied meaning and information visualization. Ph.d.- diss.http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-145 McCarthy, J. & Wright, P. (2004). Technology as Experience. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Pr.
    • Norman, D. (1988). The Psychology of Everyday Things. Basic Books.
  • No related research data.
  • No similar publications.

Share - Bookmark

Cite this article