Inviting affordances and agency

Rob Withagen*, Duarte Araujo, Harjo J. de Poel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recently several authors have suggested that affordances are not mere possibilities for action but can also invite behavior. This reconceptualization of affordances asks for a reconsideratioh of the ecological approach to agency. After a portrayal of the role of agency in ecological psychology, we draw upon phenomenology to reveal what it means for an agent to be invited by affordances. We sketch a dynamical model of the animal-environment relationship that aims to do justice to this analysis. In the model, agency is conceptualized as the capacity to modulate the coupling strength with the environment the agent can influence to what extent he or she is influenced by the different invitations. This account of agency keeps us far from the Cartesian idea that the agent imposes behavior. Indeed, by modulating the coupling strength, the agent simply alters the dynamics of the animal-environment interactions and thus the behavior that emerges. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalNew Ideas in Psychology
Volume45
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2017

Keywords

  • Affordances
  • Agency
  • Dynamical systems
  • Invitations
  • Phenomenology
  • COORDINATION
  • MOVEMENT
  • NORMATIVITY
  • PSYCHOLOGY
  • MECHANISMS
  • HANDEDNESS
  • ASYMMETRY
  • DYNAMICS

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