Barbara A. Spellman
University of Virginia School of Law
University of Cambridge
Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2009-17
In the last decade, many cognitive and social psychology researchers have been inspired by the notion of "embodied cognition" – that cognition is grounded in actual bodily states, and that cognition takes place in the service of action. Consider two examples: (1) when wearing a backpack people perceive hills to be steeper than when not wearing one; (2) when holding a cup containing a hot drink people rate another person as more warm and friendly than when holding a cup containing a cold drink.
Findings such as these suggest that behavioral law and economics's emphasis on "irrationality" in decision making could benefit by considering work in embodied cognition. Accordingly, this paper exploits recent research and theory on embodied cognition to find lessons for behavioral law and economics and theories of rationality.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Keywords: rationality, decision making, embodied cognition, behavioral law and economics
JEL Classification: D8
Date posted: May 14, 2009 ; Last revised: March 28, 2010