Embodied Cognition

Embodied cognition is the theory that many features of cognition, whether human or otherwise, are shaped by aspects of the entire body of the organism. The features of cognition include high level mental constructs (such as concepts and categories) and performance on various cognitive tasks (such as reasoning or judgment). The aspects of the body include the motor system, the perceptual system, bodily interactions with the environment (situatedness) and the assumptions about the world that are built into the structure of the organism.


The Extended mind thesis, in contrast with the Embodiment thesis, limits cognitive processing neither to the brain nor even to the body, but extends it outward into the agent's world. Situated cognition emphasizes that this extension is not just a matter of including resources outside the head, but stresses the role of probing and modifying interaction with the agent's world.


  • thinking is shaped by the body
  • this is related to situated cognition but I'm not sure if I understand the relation between the two yet, some clues:

    The traditional cognition approach assumes that perception and motor systems are merely peripheral input and output devices. However, embodied cognition posits that the mind and body interact "on the fly" as a single entity. An example of embodied cognition is seen in the area of robotics, where movements are not based on internal representations, rather, they are based on the robot's direct and immediate interaction with its environment. Additionally, research has shown that embodied facial expressions influence judgments, and arm movements are related to a person's evaluation of a word or concept. In the latter example, the individual would pull or push a lever towards his name at a faster rate for positive words, than for negative words. These results appeal to the embodied nature of situated cognition, where knowledge is the achievement of the whole body in its interaction with the world.


  • touching on embodiment is interesting, browsing happens with the body, in space
  • there seems to be some kind of relation to embodied cognition - since the thinking is happening through body, and the body uses the world to think
Szymon Kaliski © 2021