Different bodies, different minds: The body-specificity of language and thought
Different bodies, different minds: The body-specificity of language and thought. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20
, 378-383. doi:10.1177/0963721411422058.
Do people with different kinds of bodies think differently? According to the bodyspecificity
hypothesis (Casasanto 2009), they should. In this article, I review evidence
that right- and left-handers, who perform actions in systematically different ways, use
correspondingly different areas of the brain for imagining actions and representing the
meanings of action verbs. Beyond concrete actions, the way people use their hands also
influences the way they represent abstract ideas with positive and negative emotional
valence like “goodness,” “honesty,” and “intelligence,” and how they communicate
about them in spontaneous speech and gesture. Changing how people use their right and
left hands can cause them to think differently, suggesting that motoric differences
between right- and left-handers are not merely correlated with cognitive differences.
Body-specific patterns of motor experience shape the way we think, communicate, and