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Dynamic Engagement and Embodied-Cognitive Approaches to Dementia: Alternative Accounts


Body dementia - Illustration of two elderly people balancing a sand timer

IRC-funded Research Project

Dynamic Engagement and Embodied-Cognitive Approaches to Dementia (BodyDementia)

PI: Dr Danielle Petherbridge (School of Philosophy)                         

Dementia is a complex disease that is most often framed in terms of diminished cognitive capacity or neurodegeneration, as well as assumptions about the loss of personhood, memory and communication skills. As a consequence, forms of dementia assessment and care are often based on a cognitive account of personhood and framed in terms of cognitive and linguistic capacities. One of the central arguments of this research is that such accounts of personhood are one-sided and neglect the important embodied dimensions of persons both as subjects in the world and in their interactions with others. The research constructs an embodied-cognitive account of dementia that offers new insights not only into the lived experience of persons with dementia but also dynamic forms of interaction and care. This engaged research aims to work with people living with dementia and is undertaken in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland (ASoI). The project offers an embodied-cognitive approach to dementia that examines the importance of embodied mind, as well as joint-activity and capacity-building through dynamic engagement. It seeks to consider the manner in which interaction can foster and enhance forms of communication, as well as the maintenance and expressivity of self for persons with dementia.

This research is funded by the Irish Research Council 

Irish Research Council New Foundations Grant: BodyDementia


Contact the Centre for Ethics in Public Life (CEPL)

CEPL, School of Philosophy, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
E: cepl@ucd.ie