Embodied cognition

As someone prone to thinking of my body as a machine to carry my brain around I’m excited by articles about embodied cognition – like this one featuring Art Glenberg. Here’s a snippet:

Over the last decade researchers have produced striking evidence that the body and its relationship to the environment, is completely intertwined in the thinking process. For instance, simply sitting in a wobbly chair makes us judge others’ relationships to be unstable. Wearing a white lab coat, thought to be a doctor’s coat, helps our concentration and focus. Literally washing our hands rids us of guilty feelings.

So seemingly inconsequential events have a huge influence over our emotions, thoughts, and decisions. And this, scientists say, is because our abstract knowledge comes not from some disembodied reasoning within the brain but rather from our concrete experiences interacting with the world from the moment we are born. The very structure of reason itself comes from our visual and motor systems.

I can’t help thinking that the default setting for meetings – mostly sitting relatively still – is likely to lead to less imaginative thinking.

Hat tip: Richard Wise’s tweet

1 thought on “Embodied cognition

  1. Mike Wagner

    Thanks for the share Johnnie!

    Having been a pastor this matches the historic notions of spiritual formation via an acted out liturgy. Learning in the church was for centuries embodied.

    And it makes me think of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of office liturgies…like “sitting relatively still” during meetings.

    Always value your generous sharing of your learning.

    Keep creating…with everything you’ve got,



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