Grasping language--a short story on embodiment

Conscious Cogn. 2010 Sep;19(3):711-20. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2010.06.020. Epub 2010 Aug 23.


The new concept of embodied cognition theories has been enthusiastically studied by the cognitive sciences, by as well as such disparate disciplines as philosophy, anthropology, neuroscience, and robotics. Embodiment theory provides the framework for ongoing discussions on the linkage between "low" cognitive processes as perception and "high" cognition as language processing and comprehension, respectively. This review gives an overview along the lines of argumentation in the ongoing debate on the embodiment of language and employs an ALE meta-analysis to illustrate and weigh previous findings.The collected evidence on the somatotopic activation of motor areas, abstract and concrete word processing, as well as from reported patient and timing studies emphasizes the important role of sensorimotor areas in language processing and supports the hypothesis that the motor system is activated during language comprehension.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Communication
  • Comprehension / physiology*
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Imagination / physiology
  • Language*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology