The Body of the Mind: Embodied Cognition, Law, and Justice

32 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2010 Last revised: 14 Aug 2010

See all articles by Adam Benforado

Adam Benforado

Drexel University Kline School of Law

Date Written: February 2, 2010


Recent research from embodied cognition strongly contests the dualist notion of the mind as distinct and apart from the biological machine of the body - a conception that has powerfully shaped our laws, legal practices, theories, and institutions for centuries. According to the embodied (or grounded) cognition perspective, the body is involved in the constitution of the mind. Thus, beyond our conscious awareness, an abstract concept, like trustworthiness, may be primed by sensorimotor experience, like feeling physical warmth. This Article introduces recent insights from this budding field, discusses some of the potential implications of experiments in embodied cognition for courtroom interactions, and addresses the significant challenges to using this research as a means to reform.

Keywords: embodied cognition, embodied grounding, grounded cognition, law and mind sciences, dualism, mind and body, critical realism, situationism

Suggested Citation

Benforado, Adam, The Body of the Mind: Embodied Cognition, Law, and Justice (February 2, 2010). St. Louis University Law Journal, Vol. 54, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Adam Benforado (Contact Author)

Drexel University Kline School of Law ( email )

3320 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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