Grasping language - A short story on embodiment

Doreen Jirak, Mareike M. Menz, Giovanni Buccino, Anna M. Borghi, Ferdinand Binkofski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-720
Number of pages10
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


  • Action
  • ALE
  • Embodiment
  • FMRI
  • Language
  • Meta-analysis
  • Perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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