Why do we look up to those we respect, stoop to the level of those we disdain and think warmly about those we love? Why do we hide dirty secrets or wash our hands of worries? Why do we ponder weighty subjects and feel a load lift after we have made a decision? Why do we look back on the past and forward to the future?…
… A rapidly growing body of research indicates that metaphors joining body and mind reflect a central fact about the way we think: the mind uses the body to make sense of abstract concepts….
The implications seem almost preposterous. Holding a warm cup of coffee will make me view others more warmly as well? Entering a Windex- scented room will bring out the Good Samaritan in me? Holding a heavy clipboard while responding to a survey will give the issues at hand more gravitas? As far-fetched as such sensory non sequiturs may seem, the evidence for “embodied” or “grounded” cognition is persuasive. “The empirical case is becoming increasingly overwhelming,” says psychologist Lawrence Barsalou of Emory University. “Cognition is emerging, to a significant extent, from all these things—like warmth, cleanliness and weight—that we used to think were irrelevant to cognition.” Siri Carpenter, Scientific American Mind (January 2011 edition)
- Many thanks to Alistair Donnell for drawing my attention to the Scientific American Mind article
- Would a workshop on this material be of interest? If so, please click here
- There’s a video clip on the topic, an extract from my new video, here
- Please feel free to comment (or ask questions) below