Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 619–628 | Cite as

Embodied cognition

  • Fred AdamsEmail author


Embodied cognition is sweeping the planet. On a non-embodied approach, the sensory system informs the cognitive system and the motor system does the cognitive system’s bidding. There are causal relations between the systems but the sensory and motor systems are not constitutive of cognition. For embodied views, the relation to the sensori-motor system to cognition is constitutive, not just causal. This paper examines some recent empirical evidence used to support the view that cognition is embodied and raises questions about some of the claims being made by supporters.


Action-sentence compatibility effect Affordances A-modal symbols Cognition Embodied Indexical hypothesis Meaning Sensible Sensori-motor Symbol-grounding 


  1. Barsalou, L. (1999). Perceptual symbol systems. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23, 577–660.Google Scholar
  2. Barsalou, L. (2010). Cognitive and neural contributions to understanding the conceptual system. Current Directions in Psychological Science. Google Scholar
  3. Borghi, A., Glenberg, A., & Kaschak, M. (2004). Putting words in perspective. Memory & Cognition, 32, 863–873.Google Scholar
  4. Calder, A., Keane, J., Cole, J., Campbell, R., & Young, A. (2000). Facial expression recognition in people with Mobius syndrome. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 17, 73–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Camarazza, A., & Mahon, B. (2006). The organization of conceptual knowledge in the brain: the future’s past and some future directions. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 23, 13–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fodor, J. (1983). The modularity of mind. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Fodor, J. (1990). A theory of content and other essays. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  8. Gallagher, S. (2005). How the body shapes the mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gibbs, R. (2006). Embodiment and cognitive science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Gibson, J. J. (1979). The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  11. Glenberg, A., & Kaschak, M. (2002). Grounding language in action. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 9, 558–565.Google Scholar
  12. Glenberg, A., Gutierrez, T., Levin, J., Japuntich, S., & Kaschak, M. (2004). Journal of Educational Psychology, 96, 424–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Glenberg, A., Sato, M., Cattaneo, L., Riggio, L. Palumbo, D., & Bucciono, G. (2010a). Processing abstract language modulates motor system activity, in press.Google Scholar
  14. Glenberg, A., Havas, D., Becker, R., & Rinck, M. (2010b). Grounding Language in Bodily States: The Case for Emotion, in press.Google Scholar
  15. Hempel, C. (1950). Problems and changes in the empiricist criterion of meaning. Revue Internationale de Philosophie, 4(11).Google Scholar
  16. Jacob, P., & Jeannerod, M. (2005). The motor theory of social cognition: a critique. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9, 21–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ochipa, C., Rothi, L., & Heilman, K. (1989). Ideational apraxia: a deficit in tool selection and use. Annals of Neurology, 25, 190–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pavlova, M., Staudt, M., Sokolov, A., Birbaumer, N., & Krageloh-Mann, I. (2003). Perception and production of biological movement in patient with early periventricular brain lesions. Brain, 126, 692–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pecher, D., & Zwaan, R. (2005). Grounding cognition: the role of perception and action in memory, language, and thinking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Valera, F., Thompson, E., & Rosch, E. (1991). The embodied mind: cognitive science and human experience. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  21. Zwaan, R., & Madden, C. (2005). Embodied sentence comprehension. In D. Pecher & R. Zwaan (Eds.), Grounding cognition: the role of action in memory, language, and thinking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics & Cognitive ScienceUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

Personalised recommendations