Embodied Cultural Cognition: Situating the Study of Embodied Cognition in Socio-Cultural Contexts



Embodiment research has demonstrated that cognition is grounded in bodily interactions with the environment and that abstract concepts are tied to the body’s sensory and motor systems. Building upon this embodiment perspective and advancing our understanding, we discuss the extension of embodied cultural cognition. We propose that some associations between bodily experiences and abstract concepts are not randomly formed; rather, the development of such associations is situated in a socio-cultural context, informed by cultural imperatives, values, and habits. We draw evidence supporting this view of embodied cultural cognition in body–mind linkages manifested in construal of emotions, time perception, person perception, social power, and moral reasoning. To further extend this research avenue that synthesizes the studies of embodied cognition and culture, we also suggest potential future research directions inspired by this view. This embodied cultural cognition account is useful in understanding and organizing accumulating discoveries of cultural variations in embodiments; it also highlights the social situatedness of embodied cognition and is, therefore, highly compatible with theorizing and research in social and cultural psychology.