Research Topic

What Is Social and Embodied about Situated Embodied Social Cognition? Current Issues and Perspectives

About this Research Topic

Situated embodied cognition refers to several theoretical views postulating that body-environment interactions, and the situation in which they take place, play a central role in cognition. These views range from radical ones, rejecting the cognitivist construct of ‘representation’ to more moderate ones embracing representation with some adjustments. Despite its very situated nature, social cognition, which is the area dealing with how people process their social environment, has remained very attached to cognitivist views since its origins. However, over the last decades, situated and embodied accounts of social cognition emerged even if this ’social cognitive revolution’ have been more prominent in some fields. For instance, some researchers argued that sensorimotor simulation, an intra-individual process, would play a central role in social cognition. When perceiving someone acting (i.e., inter-individual level), people would simulate his/her actions, allowing them to understand what he/she experiences from a first-person perspective. Moreover, when perceiving a member of a given social group (i.e., inter-group level), people would simulate sensorimotor features of the stereotype representing this group, allowing them to adjust their behavior accordingly.

Even if these approaches have merit, they only account for a limited range of social cognitive abilities and can hardly be considered as radically breaking with the representational nature of cognitivist approaches. This Research Topic aims to promote better understandings of situated and embodied social cognitive processes. We will deal with two central and complementary questions which are:

(1) To what extent are cognitive processes, studied in social cognition area, specifically devoted to social situations

(2) To what extent are cognitive processes rooted in bodily interaction with the environment.

Submission is open to researchers from all areas of psychology as well as from neurosciences, anthropology, engineering, linguistics, philosophy, and other cognitive sciences. We are particularly interested in engaging a debate between alternative views ranging from radical situated and embodied approaches (e.g., enactivism) to more moderate ones (e.g., perceptual symbol system account) and cognitivist approaches (e.g., computationalist accounts). We hope that the richness of all these fields and views will fruitfully support the emergence of an integrative and critical view of situated embodied social cognition. We encourage authors to submit innovative manuscripts like reports presenting original empirical studies based on behavioral and/or physiological methodologies, systematic or narrative theoretical reviews, methodological reports, commentaries, and all other article types described in the “For Authors” section of Frontiers in Psychology.


Keywords: situated embodied social cognition, cognitivism, enactivism, sensori-motor simulation, representation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Situated embodied cognition refers to several theoretical views postulating that body-environment interactions, and the situation in which they take place, play a central role in cognition. These views range from radical ones, rejecting the cognitivist construct of ‘representation’ to more moderate ones embracing representation with some adjustments. Despite its very situated nature, social cognition, which is the area dealing with how people process their social environment, has remained very attached to cognitivist views since its origins. However, over the last decades, situated and embodied accounts of social cognition emerged even if this ’social cognitive revolution’ have been more prominent in some fields. For instance, some researchers argued that sensorimotor simulation, an intra-individual process, would play a central role in social cognition. When perceiving someone acting (i.e., inter-individual level), people would simulate his/her actions, allowing them to understand what he/she experiences from a first-person perspective. Moreover, when perceiving a member of a given social group (i.e., inter-group level), people would simulate sensorimotor features of the stereotype representing this group, allowing them to adjust their behavior accordingly.

Even if these approaches have merit, they only account for a limited range of social cognitive abilities and can hardly be considered as radically breaking with the representational nature of cognitivist approaches. This Research Topic aims to promote better understandings of situated and embodied social cognitive processes. We will deal with two central and complementary questions which are:

(1) To what extent are cognitive processes, studied in social cognition area, specifically devoted to social situations

(2) To what extent are cognitive processes rooted in bodily interaction with the environment.

Submission is open to researchers from all areas of psychology as well as from neurosciences, anthropology, engineering, linguistics, philosophy, and other cognitive sciences. We are particularly interested in engaging a debate between alternative views ranging from radical situated and embodied approaches (e.g., enactivism) to more moderate ones (e.g., perceptual symbol system account) and cognitivist approaches (e.g., computationalist accounts). We hope that the richness of all these fields and views will fruitfully support the emergence of an integrative and critical view of situated embodied social cognition. We encourage authors to submit innovative manuscripts like reports presenting original empirical studies based on behavioral and/or physiological methodologies, systematic or narrative theoretical reviews, methodological reports, commentaries, and all other article types described in the “For Authors” section of Frontiers in Psychology.


Keywords: situated embodied social cognition, cognitivism, enactivism, sensori-motor simulation, representation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 February 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 February 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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