About this Research Topic
Embodiment theory – that we use our own bodily experience and processes to understand our own emotional experience, and the experiences of others – has provided a mechanism to help us understand emotional processing. This theory emphasizes the impact of the body on emotional experience and postulates that emotions are constructed from multi-modal inputs. Many of the processes that promote self-other correspondences appear to be relatively automatic or occur early in processing. Recent research has suggested that embodiment provides an underlying mechanism to explain several interesting findings of atypical emotional perception, development disabilities (e.g., autism and mimicry) and numerous other socially relevant outcomes that are important throughout the lifespan. Examination of research across these areas suggests that embodied processes are not developmentally static. That is, embodied processes develop and change over time and embodiment early in life—or lack thereof—is likely to have functional outcomes as individuals age from infancy through childhood to adulthood and old age. However, open questions remain about how early embodiment processes have an impact later in life, how early deficits impact later social and emotional functioning, and how they are important for numerous basic processes (social, perceptual, cognitive and motor) that have functional outcomes in everyday life. Given the variety of empirical and theoretical work linking the body to later outcomes, it is important to further understand the practical relevance of the embodiment literature. Therefore, the focus of this Research Topic is how development may change embodied processes and how such changes relate to therapeutic and clinical applications. For example, we are interested in how differences in embodied processing found in typical development (e.g., aging), atypical development (e.g., autism), movement disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, physical disabilities), and mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia) may have implications for social adjustment (e.g., differences between younger and older individuals) and isolation (e.g., how changes in embodied processing may affect older or disabled individuals). Thus, for this Research Topic, we encourage researchers to consider the potential practical relevance of their work. Specifically, what are applications of embodied emotions research that will reveal how embodiment emerges and develops, and impact functioning across the lifespan.
Submission is open to researchers from all areas of psychology, neuroscience, clinical science, and other cognitive sciences. We are particularly interested in engaging how basic sensori-motor mechanisms can have downstream implications for emotional and social outcomes across lifespan development in typical, patient, and atypically developing populations. We hope that the richness of all these fields will support the emergence of an integrative view of how we use our bodies and experiences to understand emotions in ourselves and others throughout life and, when it goes awry, what therapeutic interventions may be effective. We encourage authors to submit innovative manuscripts like reports presenting original empirical studies based on behavioral and/or physiological methodologies in special populations (disabilities, autism, special education, movement disorders, mental health disorders, etc.), developmental populations across the lifespan, theoretical reviews, and all other article types described in the “For Authors” section of Frontiers in Psychology.
Keywords: embodied emotion, multi-modal processing, sensori-motor simulation, special populations, lifespan development
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.