Embodied Perspectives on Personality

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Department 1



Most theories of embodiment emphasize processes that are thought to be normative in nature. However, a consideration of the relevant processes (e.g., perception, awareness of afferent inputs, simulation abilities, metaphor usage) suggests that substantial individual differences could constitute the rule rather than the exception. The present chapter focuses on such sources of variability and does so in relation to four themes or lines of enquiry—how bodily factors shape personality, whether embodiment processes link personality to perception, how normative tendencies toward metaphoric thinking could give rise to variance across individuals, and how embodiment itself could be an individual difference. Although the reviewed literatures tend to be somewhat isolated from each other, juxtaposing them highlights many points of convergence. Ideas about embodiment could therefore contribute to new, process-oriented views of personality. In addition, individual differences can be leveraged to show that embodied representational processes matter with respect to everyday functioning.



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