A Neurophenomenology for Architecture: an embodied and enactive inference approach

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Abstract

The dynamic coupling within the brain, body, and environment has recently gained traction, making neuroscience attractive to architects. The aim was to draw parallels between the nature of human experience and computational neuroscience to guide future studies. As our perception is enacted by the sensory and motor system, each action changes the perceived environment in line with our expectations. Our expectations are bound by our afforded actions, shaped by architectural affordances. Since affordances depend on the fit between the body and capacities for movement, our understanding of architecture relies on sensorimotor processes. Computational neuroscience proposes an auspicious Bayesian framework of cognition that provides a meaningful explanation of neuronal activity by way of ‘active inference’. Both active inference and enactivism centralize actionperception as a unified process reflected in sensorimotor dynamics for accessing the world. This demonstrates how the environment emerges in the dynamics as a loop rather than as an end-product. Essentially, the dynamics are transition patterns that accentuate the action in the genesis of experience, revealing that architecture enters the loop of cognition by designing actions. Integrating sensorimotor activity with active inference yields a computational model of architectural affordances that in turn reflects human experience. The outcome is an attempt to go beyond traditional architectural methods by synthesizing phenomenological arguments with a prominent theory of brain activity. To this end, a neurophenomenological account of the emergence of architectural experience is developed through an enactive inference, which in turn suggests how architecture impacts experience.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCognitive Processing
Pages (from-to)S14
Number of pages1
ISSN1612-4782
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

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