Embodied cognition is the idea that my way of thinking is not independent of the body in which I live. My metaphors, imagination, and logical processes are influenced by my body’s position in space, relative height, closeness, or contact with other bodies and my perception of the environment. For those whose bodies have been modified or are outside of the species-typical spectrum (i.e. amputees) or, in the future, are largely cybernetic, the shape of the mind will change due to the different information coming in from a different body.

Samuel McNerney takes us through some simple associations between haptic response and judgment calls.

• Thinking about the future caused participants to lean slightly forward whilethinking about the past caused participants to lean slightly backwards. Future is Ahead

• Squeezing a soft ball influenced subjects to perceive gender neutral faces as female while squeezing a hard ball influenced subjects to perceive gender neutral faces as male. Female is Soft

• Those who held heavier clipboards judged currencies to be more valuable and their opinions and leaders to be more important. Important is Heavy.

• Subjects asked to think about a moral transgression like adultery or cheating on a test were more likely to request an antiseptic cloth after the experiment than those who had thought about good deeds. Morality is Purity

Studies like these confirm Lakoff’s initial hunch – that our rationality is greatly influenced by our bodies in large part via an extensive system of metaphorical thought.

The entire essay is a must read.

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