Written by Aarre LAAKSO on . Posted in Special issue: Embodiment And Development, Guest Editors: Josita MAOUENE, Thea IONESCU, Volume XV, Nr. 4


This paper is a survey of the main issues surrounding the role of embodiment in cognition and development. For most of the history of cognitive science, a “disembodied” model of cognition—according to which cognitive processes are independent of sensorimotor processes—dominated the field. More recently, the field has taken a turn toward embodiment, the view that sensorimotor processes routinely influence (and perhaps even constitute) cognitive processes. This view has diverse historical origins in American pragmatism, phenomenology and ecological psychology. However, in recent years, researchers have adduced many arguments and a great deal of empirical evidence in favor of the embodied cognition hypothesis. Developmental psychologists have played an important role in this transformation of cognitive science, adopting and adapting Piaget’s views as a means of explicating the role that embodiment plays in development, as well as collecting developmental data that support the embodied cognition hypothesis. Despite the enthusiasm for embodiment among cognitive scientists generally and developmentalists in particular, however, the embodied cognition hypothesis still faces formidable challenges.

KEYWORDS: cognition, development, embodiment, sensorimotor systems

PAGES: 409-425