Embodying expertise as a performer and perceiver: insights from the arts and robotics

Emily S. Cross*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    When watching another person perform a highly skilled action, whether an Olympic diver executing a series of complex twists and somersaults or a professional chef tossing and stretching a ball of dough into a flawless pizza base, we are witnessing the outcome of what has likely been many hours of dedicated training, practice and trial and error learning. We are also observing the (highly refined) result of the human brain’s ability to translate perception into action, a fundamental biological process that is vital for us to survive and thrive in our complex social world. What is perhaps less often considered, however, is how our own embodied expertise and experiences shape how we perceive others in action. After presenting a brief overview of the history and state of the art on action-perception links from a psychological and neuroscientific perspective, I present a case for why examining experience-induced plasticity in action perception (as measured by behavioural and brain-based methods) is a fruitful avenue for studying the relationship between embodiment and expertise. I then highlight two separate research avenues that serve to highlight the scope and utility of studying embodied expertise: performing arts and robotics. Finally, this chapter concludes with some considerations for future neurocognitive research into the mechanisms supporting skill and expertise.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of philosophy of skill and expertise
    EditorsEllen Fridland, Carlotta Pavese
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherTaylor and Francis
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Electronic)9781315180809
    ISBN (Print)9780367533373, 9781138744776
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge handbooks in philosophy


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