Take a Walk on the Cultural Side: A Journey into Embodied Social Cognition

Maria Laura Bettinsoli, Caterina Suitner, Anne Maass

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


According to current embodied cognition models, sensorimotor experiences play a critical role in cognition, including social cognition. Since our bodies are embedded in a sociocultural context, it is likely that the link between bodily states and cognition is shaped and constrained by culture. Here we argue that culture affects embodied cognition through three distinct means: (1) the physical environment and the affordances it offers, (2) cultural values and conventions that encourage certain sensorimotor experiences while discouraging others (such as body postures of submission or pride, smiling, hand-washing, and touching), and (3) cultural differences related to language, including metaphors and script direction. The present review is not meant to be exhaustive, but it offers selective insights into the paths through which diverse cultural environments shape embodied cognition. The chapter also discusses possible future venues for research on cultural embodied cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Embodied Psychology
Subtitle of host publicationThinking, Feeling, and Acting
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9783030784713
ISBN (Print)9783030784706
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Affordances
  • Cognitive processes
  • Culture
  • Language
  • Nonverbal behaviors
  • Social cognition
  • Social communication
  • Verbal behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Arts and Humanities


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