Dynamics of affordance actualization

Patric Nordbeck, Laura Soter, Rachel Kallen, Anthony Chemero, Michael J. Richardson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


The actualization of affordances can often be accomplished in numerous, equifinal ways. For instance, an individual could discard an item in a rubbish bin by walking over and dropping it, or by throwing it from a distance. The aim of the current study was to investigate the behavioral dynamics associated with such metastability using a ball-to-bin transportation task. Using time-interval between sequential ball-presentation as a control parameter, participants transported balls from a pickup location to a drop-off bin 9m away. A high degree of variability in task-actualization was expected and found, and the Cusp Catatrophe model was used to understand how this behavioral variability emerged as a function of hard (time interval) and soft (e.g. motivation) task dynamic constraints. Simulations demonstrated that this two parameter state manifold could capture the wide range of participant behaviors, and explain how these behaviors naturally emerge in an under-constrained task context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCogSci 2017
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Place of PublicationAustin, TX
PublisherCognitive Science Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780991196760
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventAnnual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (39th : 2017) - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Jul 201729 Jul 2017


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (39th : 2017)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • affordances
  • dynamic systems
  • cusp catastrophe
  • dynamic modeling
  • simulations
  • constraints


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