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New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23} 40

The bodily basis of thought
Jay A. Seitz
Department of Political Science & Psychology, AC-4D06, York College, City University of New York (CUNY), Jamaica, NY 11451, USA New School for Social Research (USA), USA

Abstract Classical cognitivist and connectionist models posit a Cartesian disembodiment of mind assuming that brain events can adequately explain thought and related notions such as intellect. Instead, we argue for the bodily basis of thought and its continuity beyond the sensorimotor stage. Indeed, there are no eternally "xed representations of the external world in the `motor systema, rather, it is under the guidance of both internal and external factors with important linkages to frontal, parietal, cerebellar, basal ganglionic, and cingulate gyrus areas that subserve cognitive and motivational activities. Indeed, the motor system, including related structures, is a self-organizing dynamical system contextualized among musculoskeletal, environmental (e.g., gravity), and social forces. We do not simply inhabit our bodies; we literally use them to think with. `The words of language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The psychical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be `voluntarilya reproduced and combined. . . . The above mentioned elements are, in my case, of visual and some of muscular typea (Einstein quoted in Hadamard, 1996, ¹he mathematician's mind: ¹he psychology of invention in the mathematical ,eld. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press (original work published 1945).) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Cognition; Brain; Action; Movement; Body; Embodied mind

1. Introduction It has not been until recently that social and neuroscientists have seriously considered the nature and mechanisms of thought and cognition outside of the traditional domains of language and logic. Indeed, the latter two have often been thought of as two
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1969. The cerebellum. 1984. Leiner & Dow. 1986. 1949/1967). 1993. McNeill. `The question isa. Humpty Dumpty said. and a huge class of procedural knowledge and skills) (Ekman & Friesen. 1989. 1952). 1952). 1997. 1992.a `The question is. 1992. b. nonverbal behavior is central to expression and communication. In e!ect. Yet. sports. 1985. a!ect displays. In terms of development. Choreography and dance. To be sure. Iverson & Goldin-Meadow. Early theorists of sensorimotor learning and development. traditionally viewed as directing and controlling voluntary movement may play a much larger role in thought itself (Ito. To be sure. recognized the central importance of movement in cognitive development (e. it has been recently proposed that there is an elaborate information-processing system involved in movement with extensive bi-directional pathways to parallel systems in the brain that are involved in planning. Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 sides of the same proverbial coin with di!erent systems of logic at various developmental periods undergirding the foundation of languages and numbers (Piaget. the blind and the reading of Braille .A..a said Humpty Dumpty. there have been recent arguments made for the gestural origins of language and the fact that both speech and hand control originate from the same neural systems (Corballis. `When I use a worda. that speech and gesture form parallel computational systems (McNeill. 1994a. emblems. The resulting `information-processinga system could conceivably go beyond the traditional control of motor functions subserved by the cerebral motor cortex to enable the manipulation of kinesthetic ideas (Leiner. 1980). 1983) and this mode of communication continues into adulthood where a large body of kinesic behaviors augments or replaces language (e. Infants and young children learn to communicate with gestures before they learn to speak (Bruner. Leiner & Dow. `it means just what I choose it to mean * neither more nor lessa. Evidences from the study of the deaf and sign languages (Klima & Bellugi. Lynn. Ogles. Hoefel & Marsden. 1997). 1994). `which is to be the master * that's alla (Carroll. 1986.g. 1989. 1998. Seitz. but you are simply using the word inappropriately outside of its normal extensiona. that the body is central to mathematical understanding (Lako! & Nunez. 1996). Indeed. reasoning. Nicoladis. to their credit. Kennedy. 1966). said Alice. action or activity (Montessori. Mayberry & Genesee. `whether you can make words mean so many di!erent things. illustrators. movement occupies a central position in human cognitive activity (Laban. 1872/1998). it appears that we `thinka kinesically too (Gardner. Unfortunately. This is surprising given that the endpoint of any intellective activity is always some movement. metaphoric gestures.b). 1993. the main thrust of these theories absorbs sensorimotor learning into higher systems of thought draining it of its cognitive uniqueness and centrality in early as well as later learning. 1993a. Suggest to one forti"ed by this belief that logic is not the sole province of these areas of cognition and immediately one is met with the usual recognizable incredulity: `Ah. goes the complaint.g. and craftsmanship are but a few examples of nonverbal abilities. 1992). 1986). For example. Piaget. regulators. Masters.. 1999). 1999. it has been postulated that thinking is an advanced form of skilled behavior that has evolved from earlier modes of #exible adaptation to the environment (Bartlett. and emotion (Leiner. and that mental practice alone improves physical skills (Hinshaw. 1992). 1993). 1958). one is reminded of Alice's response in Lewis Carroll's childhood novel. diectics.24 J.

and Suzuki methods capitalize on the fact that basic elements of music (rhythm and musical dynamics. and categorization. rhythmic ostinato. head shaking in infants originates in the mother}child relationship (Darwin. and use of body therapies (Feldenkrais. and improvisation (Jaques-Dalcroze. accelerando. musical beat and tempo. Linked to this view is the computer metaphor of the mind in which thinking is solely a brain-based (or CPU-based) activity. facial expression. 1999)? One problem with the representational view is that it presumes an hierarchical system in which the brain is a distributor of commands and the body is an ambassador of purpose or. bodily movements. little is known about how the mind actually represents anything. musical accents. syncopation. With regard to the blind. rhythmic solfege. tonal colors. form the bodily basis of meaning in the musical domain. in delays in cognitive and social development (Bebko. And when one puts the body back in thought. 1872/1965). Egan & Wolf.J. The experience of music is an elegant speci"c example of the body in thought: Loudness. gaze. imagistic. Braille is essentially the `readinga of a tactile code in which the number and spatial forms of the raised dots are critical (Hardman. and appearance are essential and basic to communication (Argyle. gesture and posture. the human propensity for categorization is structured by metaphoric. This standard view has been popularized in such early movies as `Invaders from Marsa (1963) in which a head in a glass"lled dome commands a motley assortment of unintelligent drones as they attempt to invade and take over the human world. Burke. one is left with a very di!erent perspective on human thinking. 1993). spatial behavior among conspeci"cs. Historically. chromatic harmonies.A. For instance. and schematizing . 1990) and developmentally. What has been left out of these accounts of cognition is the central importance of the body in thought. Classical cognitivist and connectionist models posit a Cartesian disembodiment of mind assuming that brain events can adequately explain thought and related notions such as intellect. among other aspects. or what are now called `embodied minda approaches to human thought and intelligence. for example. 1993). 1930/1976). Another reason is that it throws into relief some of the major problems with the contemporary `representationala view of the mind. are a few other examples. Drew. to put it another way. how does the brain give rise to mental states that `representa the external world (McGuinn. smell. One reason for the importance of studying motor abilities is the recognition that evidence from the study of children's and adult's motor capacities can address long-standing questions in other psychological domains such as the nature of human learning and memory. Even Charles Darwin went so far as to suggest that. planning. 1991). intervallic relationships such as pitch and melody. and sonority) can be most e!ectively taught through physical motion using such devices as rhythm. vocalization. That is to say. melodic phrasing and contours. 1992). Indeed. Or!. Craven & Sarlo. pedagogical practices such as the Dalcroze. dynamic changes. to name a few. Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 25 text (Seitz. 1989). Kodaly. While much has been written about the subject. touch. In human cultures. the brain regulates our bodies as does a CEO a corporation: the knowledge #ow is one way and top-down. the suppression of sign language use among the deaf has resulted in a signi"cant deterioration in the intellectual achievement of deaf children (Sacks.

Paradiso & O'Leary. the `cerebellar cognitive a!ective syndromea is linked to disturbances in language (e. personality (e. and executive functions (e.g. pontocerebellar. traditionally viewed as controlling gross and "ne motor functions but now hypothesized to play a role in thought itself (Ito. thalamic pathways. it may serve as an anatomically distinct long-term memory and learning system (Fiez.. It has been suggested that the evolutionary signi"cance of these pathways is that they enable the kinesic manipulation of concept and ideas (Bracke-Tolkmitt et al. basal ganglia defects and deterioration of the substantia nigra. 1999). monitoring. 1989. coordination. selecting between synonyms and nonsynonyms). 1992) or modi"able pattern recognition system (Marr. 1986. Johnson.g. 1994).g. 1998). spatial cognition (e. The motor basis of concepts and ideas is also reported in case studies of cerebellar damage where there are de"cits in practice-related learning (e. The biological basis of intelligent movement Recent "ndings in the neurosciences indicate reciprocal and parallel neural pathways between the cerebellum. and thalamocortical network pathways and loops (Schmahmann & Sherman. 1976)... 1969). Leiner et al. posterior lobe lesions are associated with problems in cognitive processing. . task management. there is evidence of cerebello-thalamocortical loops from the dentate part of the cerebellum to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex involved in spatial working memory that would suggest nonmotor functions (Middleton & Strick. the parallel evolution of both the dentate nucleus and regions of the frontal lobe in hominids as well as the integration of stereoscopic vision and use of the hands in primate evolution (Sanides. Peterson. blunted a!ect). Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 abilities that are themselves undergirded by perceptual and motor capacities (Jackson. result in cognitive (e. 1998). Nonetheless.g. For instance. di$culties in planning) as a result of disruption of network connections. Cheney & Raichle. and the frontal cortex. 1993a. de"cits in visuospatial memory). 1987). 1984. cerebellothalamic... and raphe nuclei in the brainstem that upset dopamine pathways. 1993).. the cerebellum is posited to integrate diverse internal representations with self-generated activity and the external world through corticopontine. These studies suggest that if the cerebellum is the interface between sensory representations and motor output. Similarly. 2.g. and prioritizing of information that may play a role in the genesis of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses (Andreasen. agrammatism). these capacities rest on a biological infrastructure.. 1986. locus ceruleus.b). 1983.. 1970) suggests motor activity as the basis of intelligence.g. 1989.26 J. In fact.g. where working memory and executive functions such as planning. Moreover. Moreover. it has been postulated that the core of human intellect is the capacity of more recent abilities to draw on computational domains that evolved for other tasks (Rozin. the wearing of magnifying or reducing prisms) and in detection of errors (e. inadequate network connections among the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.A.. and cerebellar sites lead to `cognitive dysmetriaa or problems in the processing. Moreover. and focusing attention occur (Smith & Jonides. Whereas cerebellar lesions are associated with disturbed a!ect. Indeed.

1991). 1997). new evidence on the function of the motor cortex indicates that it stores (i.g. visual. 1991b. there appears to be two separate pathways for planning movement: the extrapyramidal tracts originating in the brainstem and the corticospinal tracts originating in the motor cortex. via the dorsolateral prefrontal circuit.. Willingham. Middleton & Strick. that is. On the other hand. 1995. 1994). and neocerebellar regions. speci"cation of location and distance). 1994. Youdim & Riederer.e. along with the basal ganglia (Cote & Crutcher. 1991a. and the lateral orbitofrontal circuit with the ability to shift from one mental set to another (Cote & Crutcher. 1991. some parts of the motor systems are specialized for acquisition of new motor behaviors under external guidance (lateral premotor.g. These de"cits are characteristic of both Pakinson's disease.. Curran. 1994). 1990. and attention (Akshoomo! & Courchesne. 1998. repetitive stereotyped movement patterns (e. 1989) and the ability to rapidly shift attention both within and between sensory modalities (Akshoomo! & Courchesne. plays a role in planning. 1998). and Huntington's disease in which a reduction in inhibitory signals leads to an increase in cortical potentiation and movement (Cote & Crutcher. Moreover. but there is also recent evidence that it. The cerebellum is now known to play an important role in timing functions that are utilized by perceptual and cognitive systems (Gazzaniga et al. and basal ganglionic areas. 1997). White. The latter may lie at the core of autism. 1999). associating words with colors. dorsolateral prefrontal. it has been posited that the cerebellum contributes to basic associative learning processes (e..e. Courchesne et al. 1998. 1998) and for coordinating multimodal sensory feedback with motor imagery (Crammond. the posterior parietal cortex. appears to store representations of spatiotemporal contexts concerned with orientation in space. Goldberg. Ghez.... Such dual circuits suggest that the ability to shift behavioral set. in which an increase in inhibitory signals leads to a reduction in cortical excitation and movement (DeLong. 1998). initiate action. Ivry & Mangun. research on the cerebellum and related `motora structures has undergone a renaissance.. 1997). 1999). is responsible for creating a frame of reference (i. in which maldevelopment of the cerebellum leads to poor social and cognitive development even in the absence of damage to the hippocampus and amygdala (Courchesne et al. distance) and has evolved as a more #exible system (Gazzaniga et al..g. `kinesthetica or procedural memory) and implements the serial order of a motor plan (Carpenter. 1991). parietal. Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 27 dementia and depression) as well as motor de"cits. Georgopoulos & Pellizzer. spatial. the basal ganglia. DeLong. Indeed.e. and haptic) for movement (Ghez.. 1990.J.A. The storage of these representations in the basal ganglia may abet the frontal cortex in implementing appropriate behaviors (White. Indeed. Whereas the former speci"es the goal or target location and is less #exible. underlies the production of novel behavior or the amalgamation of patterned behavior into novel sequences. Since the beginning of the 1990s. the latter speci"es the trajectory of action (i. 1997). Willingham. 1994). Wickelgren. 1994). 1998). Another `motora structure. what I will call the syntax . Ghez. Moreover. 1985). regulation... obsessive}compulsive behavior and Gilles de Tourette syndrome) indicate the malfunctioning of this system (Gazzaniga. Moreover. 1991a. vestibular. Bracke-Tolkmitt et al. whereas other parts are specialized for already acquired skilled motor plans (supplementary motor. Both pathways indicate that cognition follows action (e.

So. Buneo. `motor organizationa). The nervous system does not so much as direct behavior as shape the dynamics of the coupled system of brain. Neurogenesis establishes maps among the brain. and on-line kinesthetic awareness form the core of the intelligent operation of the motor system. and motor}motor con"gurations (Lockman & Thelan. not hierachical. for example. limbic system. 1982). and spinal cord with input from working memory in the prefrontal cortex (Shima & Tanji. is a self-organizing. Action is self-organized from properties of the components that are structured at more abstract levels in a heterarchical. gravity. there is evidence for a `mirror systema for both action recognition and intentional communication in the primate cortex (Rizzolatti & Arbib. and the motor system as a whole organizes movement so that the parts work together (i. 1999). 1997). Sporns & Edelman. that forms the neural basis for corporeal awareness. that is. With regard to motor initiation. Snyder & Andersen. and the caudal portion which innervates the primary and secondary motor areas. there is evidence for a correlative distributed neural network. Green"eld. and cingulate gyri areas that subserve cognitive as well as motivational activities. 1998).g.. 1951). Brain and environment form a synergistic relationship in which brain events are embedded in a social matrix (Saito. it has been posited that there is a general-purpose module for sequencing that participates in both movement and language. motor organization. 1998). That is to say. which is innervated by the amygdala and ventral striatum. basal ganglionic. 1996). movement and thinking do not exist in a cognitive and biological vacuum. the `motor systema including related structures. Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 of movement or `motor logica.and self-recognition. 1997). Therefore.e. the central nervous system is a massively parallel. Nevertheless. 1997).. Thus. 1999. Therefore. Muscle neurons "re simultaneously in aggregate in concert with the olivocerebellar system to produce periodicity and patterned motor activity in an open loop system (Welsh & Llinas. Lashley.A. and motor neurons that possess overlapping and degenerate connections with multisensory input that calibrate perceptual}perceptual.28 J. Turvey. and social forces. among other cognitive tasks (Corballis. In fact. visual information is essential to the location of a sound source encoded in eye-based coordinates necessary for reaching in a spatial frame of reference * even in the dark (Batista. including the somatosensory cortex. rather. Furthermore. Sensory systems guide movement and thought (Reed. body. brainstem. motor logic. 1990). nonlinear dynamical system in which a motor plan is but one component of internal and external forces that operate on and create intelligent movement. 1991. it is under the guidance of both internal and external factors with important linkages to frontal. 1993). That is. cerebellar. Moreover. distributed. and cortical regions central to object. environmental (e. 1995). Or to put it another way. one's representation of one's body or `body schemaa (Berlucchi & Aglioti. and environment (Chiel & Beer. adaptive system in which . the context in which each part functions is essential to understanding the overall operation of the system. spinal cord. parietal. movement is contextualized) among musculoskeletal. kinesthetic memory. system (Thelen. there are no eternally "xed representations of the external world in the `motor systema. 1993. voluntary movement selection and initiation form an embedded system consisting of the rostral portion of the cingulate motor area. perceptual}motor.

orientation. and position in space. transitions in reaching behavior and locomotor development in infants are structured by proprioceptive (position. Motor logic comprises the subject's neuromuscular skill with regard to the articulation and ordering of movement what one could call the `syntaxa of movement. That is. The designation shares some very important characteristics with what researchers of human cognitive capacities call procedural knowledge: knowledge of how to do something (e. 1994a. 1987). Johnson. if the lesions are anterior to the . has been marshaled in support of a separate bodily intelligence (Gardner. and generating new neural connections (Koch & Laurent. Each movement element is treated separately rather than part of an overall movement plan (Gazzaniga et al. kinesthetic memory.. early reaching is "rst guided by proprioceptive input followed by visual and auditory guidance by the end of the "rst year of life. Nonetheless. replacing. Thus. Moreover.A. 1996). and exteroceptive (layout of surfaces and objects) indicating a close correspondence between action and perception (Bertenthal & Clifton. Recent evidence. 3. kinesthetic memory. if the supramarginal or angular gyrus is lesioned there is damage to the parietal visuokinestic areas and a consequent inability to di!erentiate well performed from poorly performed movements. and kinesthetic awareness (Seitz. 1992. however. 1993). For example. The latter involves two central components: Masterful coordination of whole body movements (so-called gross motor skills) and the ability to manipulate objects in a skilled manner (so-called "ne motor skills) (Gardner. so-called `instrumentala abilities have been given short shrift in theories of intellect and abilities.g. Of central importance is the role of the core mental operations in bodily-gestural expression. 1993. 1998). Scienti"c corroboration for this component arises from the investigation of ideomotor apraxia in which injury to the brain results in loss of memory for movement sequences. enables the subject to think in terms of movement by mentally reconstructing muscular e!ort. In the second instance. Core cognitive abilities in movement Three central cognitive abilities have been proposed for the bodily basis of thought: motor logic and organization. movement. 1982). ride a bicycle). Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 29 the biophysical makeup of the brain and its functioning are inextricably interwoven. modifying. Even human growth and development is not contingent on a central processor but emerges piecemeal from speci"c experiences the infant encounters through movement and activity `softly assembleda within the current task domain (Bertenthal. there is a failure to represent the goal of movement and hence there is no activiation of muscle e!ectors. continuously updating. such an autonomous bodily intelligence has important attributes that distinguish it from other forms of intellect.J. and movement of body parts relative to each other). 1998). exproprioceptive (movement of body parts in relation to the environment).. Scienti"c support for this component comes from studies of ideational apraxia in which damage to the brain results in the dissolution of the `plana or `ideaa of movement (Roy. 1999). The second component. In the "rst instance. 1996).

e. Martin & West. Indeed..g. external kinetic superstructure) that is superimposed on signs and signing.1. the goal of movement is adequately represented. Communication The use of sign language as a medium of communication illuminates the role of movement and language use. Indeed. Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 supramarginal gyrus disconnecting the premotor and motor areas from the visuokinesthetic areas. and substitution of signs as in deaf theatre or sign poetry. position. The last component. Using form and design in space (i. poetic structure. suggesting similar brain organization for both sign and spoken languages (Bellugi & Klima. Similarly. the use of ironic and metaphoric modes of communication occurs frequently in deaf communities (Klima & Bellugi. 1997). Everhart. 1980). operates through proprioceptors in the muscles and tendons that provide on-line information on posture. American Sign Language (ASL) depicts complex linguistic structure by encoding it in spatial contrasts by way of the hands and the body (Sternberg.. 1996). Sign language is capable of expressing nonliteral meaning by the overlapping. That is. only deaf signers with damage to the left hemisphere show language aphasias. African monkeys * use a motionoriented categorization scheme to classify objects initially according to their actions or behavior (Allen. Seven-year-olds and adults tend to make use of motion cues more often to categorize animal "gures (Mak & Vera. Right hemisphere damage results in distortions of space and spatial perspective and neglect of the left side of space (e. Cognition and movement 4. visuospatial detail (Marschark.A. 1998). 1999).30 J. among the deaf. Children also produce "gurative sign language through pantomine. and changes in body equilibrium as well as knowledge of resistance. Rothi & Valenstein. blending. Categorization Four-year-olds make signi"cant use of motion cues to categorize objects regardless of whether the objects are geometric or animal "gures. spatial descriptions of o$ce layouts) but not competence in ASL. 4. and by adding iconic. 1982). sign modi"cation. 4. kinesthetic awareness. movement. infant vervets * small grey. the body is a vehicle for thought. then subjects perform poorly to imitation and command (Heilman. such as alliteration and assonance. In both cases. is possible. These studies indicates that motion plays a pivotal role in . and weight of objects. but there is a failure to specify muscle e!ectors to faithfully achieve the movement goal (Gazzaniga et al. ASL uses the spatial relationships of the hands and body to depict syntactic information such as verb objects and nouns by manipulating loci of the hands and body and relations among these loci in the immediate plane of signing space. 1999). ritualized movement. 1987).2..

.. SD"0.g.11). Traditional models of physical imagery have explained motion without regard to the physical forces that control them (e. 1989).g. includes both external. such speech}gesture con#ict will negatively a!ect motor performance (Bates.. illustrate temporal structure of an utterance) exhibit a close relationship with spoken language development in bilingual children (Nicoladis et al.. Kepler's theory of planetary motion). Gesture and touch Studies of the acquisition of gesture in young children indicate that `iconicsa (i. and respond directly to the dynamic world through their physical actions. describe the forces acting on a system in motion (e.e. Whitesell.e. Nonetheless. 1992). Indeed. hands outstretched) arise prior to spoken language and do not display these coordinated links to speech development. This is hypothesized to be due to increases in muscle memory as well as spatial. Beats. Thal. represent details of visual images) and `beatsa (i. Metaanalytic studies indicate that the e!ect of mental practice over no practice is highly signi"cant (e!ect size"0. On the other hand. 1980.. or the cognitive rehearsal of a physical skill in the absence of movement. `deicticsa (pointing gestures). Lynn.4. Imagery Mental practice. mental imagery (i. and adjectives) to increasing mean length of utterance (MLU) and express aspects of complex concepts (e. predication) through cross-modal associations with language..68. verbs.A. Hoefel & Marsden.. function as part of the child's ability to use varying stress patterns with multimorphemic utterances. 1989). adverbs. 1999). kinesthetic imagery is more e!ective than external imagery. 1999). Masters. and `givesa (i. gestural imitation of adults is una!ected by accompanying language at the earliest stages of lexical development in infants 13}16 months. Fenson & Oakes.3. However. both haptic and imagistic information are incorporated into the timing-responsive representation so that physical imagery is predictably tied to perception.g. Such enactive or `timing-responsivea representations allow individuals to anticipate.e. temporal or sequential aspects of the symbolic components of the image (Hinshaw. external imagery is more e!ective for long distance runners who tend to dissociate the physical pain of the body as one might expect (Ogles.e.g. . `emblemsa (gestures which have a direct verbal translation as in `bye-byea). Infants will ignore a linguistic cue if it con#icts with a modeled gesture in later stages. Moreover. Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 31 concept acquisition and guides human and infrahuman primates in both the categorization of objects and the learning of concepts across the lifespan. Iconics function by tying predicate structure (e. on the other hand.J... Kosslyn. 4. 4. recent studies of physical imagery suggest that it is an analog of physical action rather than a correlate of visual perception (Schwartz. kinesthetic imagery (Magill. 1978). Moreover. and in children designated as `high comprehendersa (131}233 vocabulary words). 1994). however. These include elements of force and resistance as well as their rate of change. Dynamic models. plan. Shepard. viewing oneself from the perspective of an observer) and internal.

. 1989). Similarly.A. timing. hand rises upward) with language (e. and enactive or recognitory gestures (e. reveal the central importance of the role of the body in forming complex concept and ideas.. 1979. and true metaphor gestures by "ve to six years of age.. iconic and deictic gestures develop over the next two years of life. a one-year-old child slowly opening and closing her mouth to represent analogous movement of a matchbox).32 J. Indeed. Other schemes suggest that the earliest gestures are depictive (e. patterning. pretending to comb the hair). and adapting (Leiner et al. it has been reported that iconics and beats make up over 60% of gestures (McNeill. 1985. attending. however. blind speakers when speaking to a blind listener will gesture even though such behavior does not depend on either an observer or on an adult model (Iverson & Goldin-Meadow. cupping the hands as to form a container). planning. Indeed.g. On this view. deictic (i. Indeed.. linear-segmented one. 1999). The `motor systema is thus a complex computational network that controls and directs the brain's circuitry or internal symbols: counting.g. Iconic gestures highlight linguistic meaning through pairing movement isomorphic in form and manner of execution (e. 1969. knitted brow) and instrumental (e. concepts and ideas can be manipulated just as are body parts in motion.. sequencing.. 118). 1993a. For example. it has been suggested that there is no inherent distinction between thought and movement at the level of the brain.g. Such a dialectical synthesis suggests that thought occurs within a "eld of oppositions and how it carves up the imagistic and syntactic parts is the very embodiment of thought (McNeill. both schemes suggest that two kinds of thought processes are working in parallel: an imagistic. people speaking on the telephone routinely gesture even though it plays no obvious role in communication. graphic drawings are essentially metaphoric gestures on paper.g. Bates et al. predicting. learning. pointing. 1993). The perceptual qualities of shape and motion [in drawings] are present in the very acts of thinking depicted by the gestures (Arnheim. knowledge) through the use of gesture that depicts the underlying meaning or vehicle of the metaphor (e. therefore. In studies of gesture}speech mismatch. both can be controlled by identical neural systems (Ito. and giving). 1992). global-synthetic representation and a syntactic. a visual-kinesthetic image is forged in parallel with an inner speech symbol such that gesture and speech share a computational stage in which the separate elements combine to form a more complex cognitive structure. 1998). correcting. 1992).. p.. In adults. showing.g.g.g. Developmentally. Gesture}speech mismatch may also have communicative value because gesture highlights aspects . b). Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 Deictic gestures comprise 80% of gestures in French}English bilingual children under four-years-of-age (Nicoladis et al.. extending arms to be picked up) gestures (Bartin. The foregoing studies. 1989. convey nonliteral meaning by representing abstract concepts (e.e. Metaphoric gestures...g. gestures that accompany language may facilitate thought itself. followed by beats in the third year. Therefore.. `He crawls up the pipea). protogestures that link vocal and manual activities evolve in the postnatal period. Nonetheless. the expression of concepts motorically before their linguistic realization may help facilitate the working out or `packaginga of ideas. followed closely in age by expressive (e.

-marching. 4. curved spokes to denote motion of a wheel). (c) demonstrate both asymmetric use of the body and body parts but. the use of a body part to stand in place of a concept or idea). studies have found the use of metaphoric gestures (e.J. arithmetic is object collection (i. by 5. Mirani & Seitz. For instance. 1999. (b) have acquired quasi-skipping. studies of the drawings of individuals with congenital and acquired blindness indicate that blind individuals are able to describe motion by making use of metaphorical ways of indicating movement (e. and activity. Aesthetic (dance) movement Recent research on aesthetic (dance) movement is beginning to classify the numerous ways that children express thoughts and ideas through movement. (c) show symmetric use of the body and body parts.and 4-years-olds lack the ability to express tension or weight in their movement. Mathematics It has been suggested that our mathematical conceptual system is grounded in basic sensorimotor experiences and is heavily dependent on metaphorical mappings (Lako! & Nunez. they (a) can create geometric shapes with body parts. and (e) can use their upper body to propel themselves forward in a horizontal plane. Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 33 of the mind of the speaker that are inconsistent with his or her spoken language (Goldin-Meadow. they (a) have developed front}back but poor lateral movement. 1997). blind individuals treat pressure borders as indicators of surface edges. Lopez & Seitz. (b) represent a movement for an absent concept.. 1997). At a general level. Indeed. the research indicates that 3. Lopez. and (d) have acquired more advanced balancing abilities.. Moreover. in modern choreographic practice. (b) have acquired complex movements such as skipping. 1997).e. Thus.e.. In terms of representational capacities.A.6. like sighted individuals who treat brightness borders as indicators of the edges of surfaces. action. 1998. (b) demonstrate metrical properties of rhythm in their movement. in terms of motor organization.5. In addition. This system would make use of haptic information in the blind to use touch to `think witha just as the sighted use visual information to plan and organize visual reality.. (c) can coordinate movement with and around objects.g. 1999). movements which depict a bodily action). (d) have acquired the "rst and second positions in modern ballet technique. children (a) have acquired lateral movement. kinetographs (i. it has been suggested that both visual and haptic information are coordinated by an amodal system (Kennedy. much of the communicative and conceptual power of dance is facilitated by gesture (Kilian. and (c) distort a property of a movement so as to treat it as another movement property. 1998. Indeed.g. 4.. Nonetheless.e. and simple regulators (i. gestures that regulate action between group participants) (Carlson & Seitz. simple diectic and spatial gestures. (d) lack more advanced balancing abilities. In all age groups. and -jumping abilities. 1998). they can treat (a) one movement as another.or 6-years of age. numbers as . However.

may be tapping into this composite neural circuit (Graziano. The brain's circuits are highly compartmentalized receiving synaptic connections from less than 3% of neurons of the surrounding square millimeter of cortex. Pinel. marmosets.a there is periodic rhythmic discharges of the body. Indeed. Such compact wiring ensures that connections occur with high probability between juxtaposed regions and with less probability among more distance regions. 1989).g. 448) or keyboard training and math video games. the cerebral representation of the "ngers. Recent evidence indicates the mathematical intuition emerges from two distinct neural systems that underlie exact and approximate arithmetic (Dehaene. Moreover. The extent of connectedness is uniform across tree shews. 1997). studies purporting to enhance spatial}temporal reasoning skills by exposure to music (e. quantity).and primates that di!er in brain size by four orders of magnitude (Stevens. mental rotation. Moreover. and the location of number on a number line) and obeys similar principles of cerebral organization. the Gerstmann syndrome. spatial layout of the "ngers on the hand. Moreover. abstract maps of spatial layouts of objects in the environment. prosimians. and orientation to the environment.. the parietal lobes and the intraparietal sulci shape the neural circuit that underlies handshapes and "nger movements which appears to contribute to "nger counting and "nger calculation (Butterwork. Dennis & Newcomb. This suggests that the inferior parietal area may be the central brain region for numerical abilities including the representation of continuous quantities. The latter is a universal cross-cultural stage in the learning of numbers by children. Whereas the former is acquired in a language-like format and uses neural networks involved in word association. and may be further subdivided into microregions specialized for "nger movements and graphic abilities such as writing (Dehaene. Outward folds separate strongly interconnected areas while inward folds separate weakly interconnected areas. distinguishing left from right. is characterized by di$culties in writing. 1999. Rauscher. That is. Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 collection of physical objects). in a rare disorder of `arithmetic epilepsy. Such "ndings "t in well from what is known about the modular structure of the brain. Spelke. Wright. it appears that the cortical representation of "nger movements and numbers occupies an interrelated neural circuit (i.34 J. and acalculia. representing the "ngers of the hand. the latter is language independent and uses bilateral areas in the vicinity of the intraparietal sulci (Brodmann's area 39) that are active during visual guidance of eye and hand movements. Levine..e. number locations as situated on a path or continuum).e. These areas are posited to be related to preverbal numerical abilities in both human infants and diverse animal species. Mozart Sonata. . This indicates that neural circuits operate more e$ciently by sharing information over a smaller number of units. there is a close relationship among our body maps.. Shaw. these neural arrangements develop early as local forces and mechanical properties of surrounding tissue shape neural growth and migration (van Essen. and physical motion (i. Peterson & Shaw. 1997). 1997). Stanescu & Tsivkin.. Indeed. 1999). 1999). and the representation of number on a number lime (Dehaene. k. Indeed.g. object construction (e. which involves de"cits in the left inferior parietal region. spatial maps.A. 1997).

.g. If human communication evolved from the capacity to recognize actions in early hominid populations to a mirror system for intentional gestured and spoken discourse. dancing. Childhood play is essential to development and traditional venues such as constructive. 1993). and pragmatics (Sacks. emotional. singing.. selection. syntax. On the other hand. Throwing. Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 35 5. 1985). and integration that lie at the core of human intellectual activity. 1998). sociodramatic. The 99embodied mind::: a new paradigm for thinking about the relation of movement to thought As electronic media (e. Kinesthetic thinking lies in orchestrating a sequence of activities. as all skillful behavior involves the same aspects of sequence and seriation or a `generalized schemata of actiona (Lashley. typing. social. All the aforementioned activities partake of timing. suggest that motor capacities are deeply involved with. To be sure.g. semantics.A. hitting. sign language systems satisfy every criterion of a language in terms of generativity. and music contribute to worldclass performance (Goleman. Technological innovation has enabled the blind to `reada printed text (e. Therefore. 1992. and telecommunication devices (e. The evolution of brain areas that subserve mechanical skills underlies technological development that abetted modern civilization (Seitz. visual saccades or auditory scanning) as the nervous system reroutes degenerated sensory modalities and reorganizes defective brain regions (Gazzaniga et al. Optacon scanner).J. action. there is a syntax of movement as there is a syntax of speech and a logic of numbers as there is a `physiology of logica. other intellective competencies. and so on. 1988). orchestration. 1999). The rise of modern technology has freed the hand to `thinka and the voice to pro!er instruction (Corballis. and perception are indissolubly tied.. force.g. playing a musical instrument. is it that our brains are largely formed independent of type of input? What will become of human minds in a `digitizeda culture? While it is largely true that physically handicapped children eventually develop normally in spite of motoric impairments. 1998). integrating intellective. their success is largely due to their ability to compensate for their motor limitations and not because of them (Bebko et al. action or activity. chess.g. Depression is closely associated with negatively distorted body images (Noles. the boundaries between perception. and multisensory experience. cellular phones) become increasingly popular. The organization of the brain and body is not top-down but organized at the level of the system that is dependent on local. the study of dance movement suggests how little is known about how children and adults use their gestural and postural abilities to express concepts and . driving a car. writing. there is concern that such `mechanization of culturea will severely limit the use of the body. The physically impaired seek out intellectual. 1994). 1992).. and sequencing. video games. 1951). Practice in sports. signing. and constitutive of. then thought. TV and computers). Indeed. and contextual factors and constraints. and selecting and executing appropriate movement. and symbolic play facilitate bodily coordination and the physical basis of concept acquisition (Chirico. distributed. Cash & Winstead. and environmental stimulation and make optimal use of what motor abilities are still intact (e. action. Indeed.. and cognition are porous.

Visual thinking. L. Andreasen. & Oakes. and kinesthetic memory) that are hypothesized to be at the core of cognitive abilities central to human action. Whitesell. Mexico City. Mahwah. Science. Batista. Paradiso. by grants from NIH-MARC (Training Grant GM08498-05). C. Fenson. Acknowledgements A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the 29th Annual Symposium of the Jean Piaget Society. 203}218. Although humans may be best characterized as symbol-using organisms. Berkeley. Allen.e. and motor organization in human learning that occurs through the senses. R. Argyle. and movement texture).. E. Indeed. E. Indeed. (1994). L. volume. A. PSC-CUNY Research Award Programs 29&30. & Courchesne. S. but way of the body's `awarenessa of itself through its exteroceptive and prioprioceptive senses.. and a travel grant from the New School for Social Research. The research was supported. Thal. in part. (1989). ERP evidence for a shifting attention de"cit in patients with damage to the cerebellum. S... Bartlett. P. C. human consciousness may arise not just from some novel feature of human brains.. hands. Buneo. kinesthetic awareness. In G. Mexico. Faculty Development Committee for Sponsored Programs/York College-CUNY C5 and C6..e. N. (1969).A. Arnheim. D. motor logic. motor organization. Thinking: An experimental and social study. C. L. (1998). D. A. By sketching out both the `objectivea features (i. A. Bodily communication (2nd). & Andersen. M.. and the `subjectivea features * including repleteness (i.. the ability to create a spatial design(s) with the body * current empirical studies will gain further insight into the relationship of thought and movement. 388}399.36 J.. 6(4). Seitz / New Ideas in Psychology 18 (2000) 23 } 40 ideas. R. line. Bates. By tracing its ontogeny and the role of expressive and cognitive factors in aesthetic movement.. Snyder. Proceedings of the eighteenth annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. NJ: Erlbaum.. New York: Basic Books. the ability to use one movement to stand in place of another). Actions and objects: Unequal partners in the evolution of communication. F. Developmental Psychology. (1996). C.the body structures thought as much as cognition shapes bodily experiences. Thinking is an embodied activity. & O'Leary.W. K.e. A.. 1004}1019. 285. and composition (i.. . 257}265. CA: University of California Press. Reach plans in eye-centered coordinates. New York City Council Legislative Initiative. N. the ability to convey rhythm or shape through movement). References Akshoomo!..e. 24(2). Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.e. 25(6). such studies will begin to explicate the role of kinesthetic sense and memory. Integrating language and gesture in infancy. exempli"cation (i. symbol use is structured by action and perceptual systems that occur in both natural environments and artifactual contexts. motor logic.. (1989).. 215}230). `Cognitive dysmetriaa as an integrative theory of schizophrenia: A dysfunction in cortical}subcortical}cerebellar circuity? Schizophrenia Bulletin. (1958). expression or representation (i. and body. (1999). London: Methuen.

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