Imagining the scenario: emergency training simulations and embodied action
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This thesis is a microanalytic investigation of embodied resources used to complete imaginary emergency scenarios in paramedic simulation training exercises. Emergency simulations present an intriguing site for investigating the process of imagination in that cognitive processes are displayed through human action. I examine training from both a multimodal perspective and also as an embodied cognitive process. I found that the students employ a number of communicative strategies to anchor themselves physically in the imagined space of the scenario. First, I examine how the fictional frame is embedded in the instructional frame, particularly focusing on how the lead student designs utterances in relation to the fictional component of the scenario. I argue that the routine activities serve as scaffolding and recognizable actions throughout the simulation grounding the students physically in the simulation. Secondly, I found that there is never a point in the laboratory exercises where the simulated action becomes automated; rather, the students must continually work at building action in the scenario. I also examine how sensory exploration, specifically looking and touching, allow students to rehearse future embodied action. Lastly, I argue that the students are not only developing intellectual knowledge of treating and stabilizing a patient in the field, they are also training their bodies as the main source of action.