Embodied Mental Simulation



The theory of grounded cognition holds that our bodily states, actions, and even mental simulations are used to generate our cognitive activity. One of the more prominent findings within this literature is the effect of bodily states on persuasion. For instance, Wells and Petty (1980) show that participants nodding their heads up and down (vs. side to side) leads to increased persuasion of an editorial message.  More recent research supporting the concept of embodied cognition has focused on metaphorical transfers of meanings. For example, participants rated hypothetical individuals more positively on socially warm characteristics when they had previously held a warm (vs. cold) cup of coffee (Williams and Bargh 2008).  Despite the recent interest in embodied cognition, bodily states are only one of the ways in which cognition is grounded (Barsalou 2008). Mental simulation, or the reenactment of perceptual experiences, is another way in which cognition is grounded and is the focus of this talk.  By mental simulation, we are referring to a more automatic form of mental imagery that is initiated by exposure to verbal or visual representations of objects.   Across a series of studies in two papers, we provide evidence for such mental simulation.
This research seminar is organised by the Erasmus Centre for Marketing of Innovation (ECMI).
Contact information:
Dr. G. Liberali