Towards theory formalization in (social) embodiment: A tutorial

Anna Szabelska*, Olivier Dujols, Thorsten M. Erle, Alessandro Sparacio, H. IJzerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific


Embodied – or grounded - cognition frameworks assume that human thought is affected by inputs from the bodily modalities and the environment and emerged in response to amodal approaches. But the embodied cognition literature, generally speaking, lacks the formal theorizing that allows for specific predictions about relations between body and mind. This problem is amplified by the fact that psychological research has encountered replication problems, challenges to validity of measures and manipulations, and overgeneralization of obtained findings to populations and measures that were not tested. This chapter provides a tutorial on how the field can move towards formalized theories of embodied social cognition. Werely on research on social thermoregulation – the idea that social behaviors protect the body’s core temperature – as a template for this. The chapter addresses the important questions of how to separate noise from signal in embodiment research, how to create reliable and valid measures, and how to appropriately draw conclusions about the generalizability of obtained findings. We hope that following these recommendations will help theories in embodiment to become more formal, allowing for precise predictions about interactions between the body and human (social) cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpringer handbook of embodied psychology
Subtitle of host publicationThinking, feeling, and acting
EditorsM. Robinson, L.E. Thomas
Place of PublicationNew York
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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