Original Paper

Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 27-37

The emotive neuroscience of embodiment

  • Tom F. PriceAffiliated withTexas A&M Email author 
  • , Carly K. PetersonAffiliated withTexas A&M
  • , Eddie Harmon-JonesAffiliated withTexas A&M

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Embodiment in psychological research and theory often refers to the idea that the body plays a crucial role in emotive, motivational, and cognitive processes. We review past and recent embodiment research, focusing on neuroscientific work. In particular, we review a growing body of evidence supporting the notion that manipulated facial expressions, hand contractions, and changes in physical posture influence physiological activity related to approach motivation or the inclination to move toward a stimulus. Several other perspectives are also considered, such as work related to facial-feedback theories of emotion, theories of grounded or embodied cognition, and mirror neuron research. Ultimately, we conclude that bi-directionality may exist between certain bodily movements and other components of approach- or avoidance-related emotions. Avenues for new research are considered given these implications.


Embodiment Emotion Motivation Neuroscience Asymmetric frontal cortical activity Startle eyeblink response Late positive potential