Grounded Cognition

As presented by Lawrence W. Barsalou in his article “Grounded Cognition”, some accounts of grounded cognition focus on roles of the body in cognition, based on widespread findings that bodily states can cause cognitive states and be effects of them. Most accounts of grounded cognition, however, focus on the roles of simulation in cognition. Simulation is the reenactment of perceptual, motor, and introspective states acquired during experience with the world, body, and mind. As an experience occurs (e.g., easing into a chair), the brain captures states across the modalities and integrates them with a multimodal representation stored in memory (e.g., how a chair looks and feels, the action of sitting, introspections of comfort and relaxation). Later, when knowledge is needed to represent a category (e.g., chair), multimodal representations captured during experiences with its instances are reactivated to simulate how the brain represented perception, action, and introspection associated with it.


Barsalou, L. W. (2008) “Grounded Cognition“. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 59:617–45