RESEARCH

In my research I explore conceptual and bodily aspects of everyday cognition and instruction. I gather data through micro-ethnographic and quasi-experimental methods and analyze recorded activity using a conceptual framework that blends distributed cognition, cognitive linguistics, and gesture studies.

Favorite buzzwords:  distributed cognition, situated cognition, embodied cognition, cognitive ethnography, cognitive linguistics, cognitive semantics, conceptual blending, gesture studies, instructional discourse.

Publications

Williams, R. F., & Harrison, S. (2014). Distributed cognition and gesture: Propagating a functional system through impromptu teaching. In J. L. Polman, E. A. Kyza, D. K. O’Neill, I. Tabak, W. R. Penuel, A. S. Jurow, K. O’Connor, T. Lee, & L. D’Amico (Eds.), Learning and Becoming in Practice: The International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS), Volume 3 (pp. 1655-1656). Boulder, CO: International Society of the Learning Sciences. (See poster under “Conference Papers.”)

Williams, R. F. (2013). Distributed cognition and gesture. In C. Müller, A Cienki, E. Fricke, S. Ladewig, D. McNeill, & S. Tessendorf (Eds.), Body – Language – Communication: An International Handbook on Multimodality in Human Interaction (pp. 240-258). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. [article] [book]

Potsch, E., & Williams, R. F. (2012). Image schemas and conceptual metaphor in action comics. In F. Bramlett (Ed.), Linguistics and the Study of Comics (pp. 13-36). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. (First author: Elisabeth Potsch ’08.) [chapter] [book]

Williams, R. F. (2011/2012). Image schemas in clock-reading: Latent errors and emerging expertise. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 21(2): 216-246. Special issue on modalities of body engagement in mathematical activity and learning, R. Hall & R. Nemirovsky (Eds.). [article] [journal]

Williams, R. F. (2008). Distributed cognition. In E. Anderman (Ed.). Psychology of Classroom Learning: An Encyclopedia. Detroit: Macmillan Reference. [entry] [book]

Williams, R. F. (2008). Gesture as a conceptual mapping tool. In A. Cienki & C. Mueller (Eds.), Metaphor and Gesture [Gesture Studies 3] (pp. 55-92). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. [chapter] [book]

Williams, R. F. (2008). Guided conceptualization: Mental spaces in instructional discourse. In T. Oakley & A. Hougaard (Eds.), Mental Spaces in Discourse and Interaction (pp. 209-234). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. [chapter] [book]

Williams, R. F. (2006). Using cognitive ethnography to study instruction. In S. A. Barab, K. E. Hay, & D. T. Hickey (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Volume 2 (pp. 838-844). Bloomington, IN: International Society of the Learning Sciences. [paper]

Coulson, S., & Williams, R. F. (2005). Hemispheric asymmetries and joke comprehension. Neuropsychologia, 43: 128-141. [article]

Williams, R. F. (1993). Gay and lesbian teenagers: A reading ladder for students, media specialists, and parents. The ALAN Review, 20(3).

Williams, R. F. (1992, spring). Joey gets literate: A short story about the effects of schooling on a child’s developing literacy. The Edge, literary magazine of the University of Colorado at Denver.

Conference Papers

Distributed cognition, gesture, and impromptu teaching. For the session “Learning sciences: Processes of learning and interaction in context.” 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, 16-20 April 2015. Second author: Simon Harrison, University of Nottingham Ningbo. [paper]

Gesture, gaze, and framing in situated activity. Paper presented at the 6th Conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies, University of California, San Diego, 8-11 July 2014. (First author: Simon Harrison, University of Nottingham Ningbo.)

Distributed cognition and gesture: Propagating a functional system through impromptu teaching. Poster for the 11th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, 23-27 June 2014 (Theme: “Learning and Becoming in Practice”). (Second author: Simon Harrison, University of Nottingham Ningbo.) [poster]

Functions of eye-gaze in the mediation of expert discourse in interaction. Workshop on “The mediation of expert discourse: Linguistic perspectives” at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle–Paris 3, PRISMES (EA4398)–Semantics and Syntax–Language in Action, 21-22 June 2013. (First author: Simon Harrison, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle.)

Constructing and coordinating representations in multiple gesture spaces. Paper presented at the 5th Conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies, Lund University, Sweden, 24-27 July 2012. (Second author: Simon Harrison, RWTH Aachen University.) [abstract] [slides]

Constructing a novel blend through gesture. Paper presented at the 11th Conference on Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 17-20 May 2012. [abstract] [slides]

Coordinating and sharing gesture space in collaborative reasoning. Paper presented in the theme session “Within and across spaces: Towards multi-dimensional models of gesture space” at the 3rd Conference of the Scandinavian Association for Language and Cognition, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 14-16 June 2011. [abstract] [slides]

Gesture in everyday scientific reasoning and explanation. Paper presented at the 4th Conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies, Europa University Viadrina Frankfurt/Oder, 25-30 July 2010. [abstract] [slides]

Situating cognition through conceptual integration. Paper presented at the 9th Conference on Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, 18-20 October 2008. [abstract] [slides]

Path schemas in gesturing for thinking and teaching. Paper presented in the theme session “Motivation in gesture: Image and motor schemas and their metaphorical extensions” at the 3rd International Conference of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association, University of Leipzig, 25-27 September 2008. [abstract] [slides]

Latent errors and emerging expertise in clock-reading. Paper presented at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, NY, 24-28 March 2008.

Counting and conceptual blending. Paper presented at the 10th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, University of Krakow, Poland, 15-20 July 2007.

Using mapping and anchoring gestures to establish common ground. Paper presented in the theme session “Common Ground” at the 3rd Conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 18-21 June 2007. [abstract] [slides]

Latent errors and conceptual change. Paper presented at the 8th Conference on Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language, University of California, San Diego, 3-5 November 2006.

The image-schematic structure of pointing. Poster presented at the 2nd International Conference on Language, Culture, and Mind, Paris, France, 17-20 July 2006. [slides]

Instruction as guided conceptualization. Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference on Language, Culture, and Mind, Paris, France, 17-20 July 2006.

Using cognitive ethnography to study instruction. Paper presented at the 7th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, 27 June-1 July 2006.

Material anchors and conceptual blends in instructional discourse. Paper presented in the theme session “Mental spaces approaches to discourse and interaction.” 9th International Pragmatics Conference, Riva del Garda, Italy, 10-15 July 2005.

Gesture as a tool for conceptual mapping. Paper presented in the theme session “The role of gesture in teaching and learning concepts in mathematics and science” (chair) at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal, Canada, 11-15 April 2005.

Building anchored blends: Gesture and co-gesture speech in instructional discourse. 7th Conference on Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language, University of Alberta, Canada, 8-10 October 2004.

Material structure and conceptual integration in time-telling instruction. Paper presented at the 8th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, Logroño, Spain, 20-25 July 2003.

Invited Research Talks

Linking mind and world through gesture. Lecture at the Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics in China (CRALC), School of English, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China, 12 January 2016.

Gesture coupling body, mind, and world. Cognitive Science colloquium at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, 20 April 2011.

Gesture, conceptualization, and distributed cognition. Plenary address for the workshop The Exbodied Mind: Motion in Communication and Cognition Research, RWTH Aachen University, Germany, 8-9 April 2011. [slides]

Functions of gesture during instruction: Conceptual mapping, anchoring, and blending. Invited lecture at the Berlin Gesture Center, Berlin, Germany, 29 September 2008.

Embodiment in learning to read a clock. Presentation for the workshop Research on Embodied Mathematical Cognition, Technology, and Learning, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto, CA, 10-11 December 2007.

Lessons from a cognitive ethnography of time-telling instruction. Learning Sciences colloquium at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 30 September 2005.

Using cognitive ethnography to study conceptual blending and cognitive artifacts in situated activity. Presentation for the 1st Conference on Empirical Methods in Cognitive Linguistics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 2-4 May 2003.

Science Slam

What you can do with your hands (besides the obvious). Public presentation of gesture research in the first Science Slam Aachen competition, held at the Jakobshof in Aachen, Germany, 11 May 2011. [video]

Student Conference Papers (Advisor/Co-Author)

Bending over backwards: Embodiment motivates language. Paper presented at the 11th Conference on Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 17-20 May 2012. (First author: Melissa Zheng ’13) [abstract]

Cognitive models and the partisan divide: A study of the debate over health care reform. Poster presented at the 10th Conference on Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language, University of California, San Diego, 16-19 September 2010. (First author: Madeline Herdeman ’10.) [poster]

Building a better oarsman: Conceptual integration and motor learning in rowing instruction. Poster presented at the 10th Conference on Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language, University of California, San Diego, 16-19 September 2010. (First author: Nicholas C. Miller ’10.) [poster]

Using conceptual integration to develop physical skills: Motor-concept linking and intermediary mapping. Abstract accepted for the 11th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, University of California, Berkeley, 28 July-3 August 2009. First authors: Nicholas Carson Miller ’10 and Emily C. Gaudinski ’08.

Motion and force in a static art form: Image schemas and conceptual metaphor in American superhero comics. Abstract accepted for the 11th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, University of California, Berkeley, 28 July-3 August 2009. First author: Elisabeth Potsch ’08.