Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Social functioning requires emotion. We must be able to recognize, interpret, and generate emotions across a variety of social contexts. But how are emotions conceptually represented in the mind? Embodiment (or grounded cognition) theories propose that processing of emotional concepts is partly based in one’s own perceptual, motor, and somatosensory systems. We review evidence for this account across a variety of domains, including facial expression perception, interpretation of emotional language, somatic involvement in affective processing, and “mirroring” of others’ actions. We also contrast embodiment theories with more traditional “amodal” frameworks, which represent emotional information as abstract language-like symbols in cognitive networks. Overall, we argue that a comprehensive account of emotion concepts requires considering their embodiment. Simultaneously, we highlight that embodiment is flexible and dynamic, especially within the social environment. This means that when and how emotion concepts are embodied critically depends on situational cues and current representational needs.

Keywords: emotion, embodiment, affect, processing, concepts, facial expressions, social psychology, cognitive science, language, mirroring

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.