Evan Risko

Canada Research Chair in Embodied and Embedded Cognition

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
University of Waterloo
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

519-888-4567, ext. 38135

Coming to Canada From

Memphis, United States of America

Research involves

Examining how we use both our body and the physical world to help us think, and how the two together ultimately shape our thinking.

Research relevance

This research will lead to fundamental knowledge about human cognition that can be used to develop cognitive aids such as technology-based learning tools.

Thinking with Our Brain, Body and World

Whether we are counting on our fingers or storing important dates in a smartphone, we often use our body and objects in our physical world to help us think. With the steady march of technology, we face a future where our thinking will be more and more intimately tied to external aids, such as Internet search engines. Taking full advantage of this progress requires a deeper understanding of how the human cognitive system uses external resources to support thinking.   

As Canada Research Chair in Embodied and Embedded Cognition, Dr. Evan Risko is providing new insight into how we use both our bodies and the physical world to think, and how doing so ultimately shapes our thinking.

Risko is particularly interested in the decision-making processes underlying our use of external resources as a means to avoid cognitive demand. In other words, how do we decide when to offload cognitive work from our brains to our body and world? He is also interested in the relationships between these processes and our limits on attention, as well as the potential cognitive consequences of integrating both the body and physical world into our thinking.

Ultimately, Risko’s research may lead to the development of better cognitive technologies and strategies for improving human thinking, such as technology-based educational aids.