Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 495–514

Visible embodiment: Gestures as simulated action

Theoretical and Review Articles


Spontaneous gestures that accompany speech are related to both verbal and spatial processes. We argue that gestures emerge from perceptual and motor simulations that underlie embodied language and mental imagery. We first review current thinking about embodied cognition, embodied language, and embodied mental imagery. We then provide evidence that gestures stem from spatial representations and mental images. We then propose the gestures-as-simulated-action framework to explain how gestures might arise from an embodied cognitive system. Finally, we compare this framework with other current models of gesture production, and we briefly outline predictions that derive from the framework.

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadison

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