How an Embodied Mind Perspective can Influence the Study of Emotion


Embodied approaches to studying the mind have received increasing attention over the last decade (e.g. Barsalou, 2008; Damasio, 1999; Lakoff & Johnson, 1999; Niedenthal, 2007). Common to these approaches is the goal of understanding how our processes for perception and action form a basis for our higher-level thoughts and emotions. While there has been a great deal of interest in embodied cognition as a theoretical stance, there have only been hints at the value of this approach to researchers across the cognitive sciences. This symposium is intended to help illustrate how an embodied mind perspective can change the research questions we ask and the ways we interpret results when studying emotion. We present four lines of research, bringing to bear psychophysiological, muscle paralysis, neuroimaging, and behavioral methods. We aim to broaden the discussion on the role of an embodied approach in emotion research and the cognitive sciences more generally. Jamil Zaki will begin the symposium by presenting research on the physiological mechanisms underlying empathic accuracy. Joshua Davis will then discuss research on the paralyzing effects of Botox on emotional experience. In the third talk, Christian Keysers will explore the embodied nature of the brain mechanisms by which we understand the emotions of others. Finally, Fritz Strack will discuss the various psychological mechanisms by which bodily actions can influence affect.

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