Laboratory for Embodied Cognition (Glenberg)

Laboratory for Embodied Cognition (Glenberg)
Keywords: embodied cognition; language comprehension; embodied reading comprehension intervention (EMBRACE); cognitive neuroscience; joint action and mirror neuron system
Lab Area
Cognitive Science
Lab Director
Art Glenberg, PhD
Actively Recruiting Undergraduate Researchers
Contact Us
Actively Recruiting Graduate Students

What is Embodied Cognition?

How do words, objects, and events become meaningful to us? Glenberg and his students are attacking these problems by developing an embodied theory of cognition:  All cognitive processes are based on bodily and neural processes of perception, action, and emotion.  Recent work in the lab has demonstrated a) how language comprehension depends on action and emotion, b) how coordinated action links us to other people, c) contributions of mirror neurons to language and action understanding,  d) how embodiment theory can be used to design educational interventions to enhance young children's reading comprehension. 

Research in the Glenberg lab is organized into two tracks. The first investigates the embodied basis of cognition with a focus on language. This basic research is guided by the question: How do bodily and neural systems of action, perception, and emotion contribute to high-level cognition? The second track applies the basic research to developing a reading comprehension intervention for emerging readers.The intervention, EMBRACE, is designed to help children construct embodied mental models while reading: Children MANIPULATE IMAGES ON AN IPAD to correspond to the sentences they read, and then they learn to imagine manipulating the IMAGES. This intervention greatly increases reading comprehension and has the collateral benefit of helping children love to read."

Our lab motto is Ago Ergo Cogito - "I act, therefore I think"

Lab Director and Principal Investigator: Art Glenberg, PhD, Professor

The EMBRACE research Team:

Chris Blais (Assistant Research Professor)
Sarah Fialko (Research Assistant)
Nora Carrillo (Project Manager)
Tri Nguyen (Graduate Student)
Laida Restrepo (Professor and Assistant Dean for Research)

At University of Pittsburgh
Arun Lekshmi Narayanan (Graduate Student, lead programmer)
Jay Patel (Graduate Student)
Erin Walker (Associate Professor)

At Ball State University
Ligia Gómez (Assistant professor)

Recent Embodiment Publications:

Glenberg, A. M., Sato, M., Cattaneo, L., Riggio, L., Palumbo, D., Buccino, G. (2008).  Processing abstract language modulates motor system activity.  Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 61, 905-919.

Glenberg, A. M., Sato, M., Cattaneo, L. (2008). Use-induced motor plasticity affects the processing of abstract and concrete language.  Current Biology, 18, R290-R291.

Glenberg, A. M. (2009).  Prediction and emotion in dialog.  European Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 1169-1172.

Scorolli, C. Borghi, A. M., Glenberg, A. M.  (2009).  Language-induced motor activity in bi-manual object lifting.  Experimental Brain Research, 193, 43-53.

Glenberg, A. M., Webster, B. J., Mouilso, E., Havas, D. A., & Lindeman, L. M. (2009).  Gender, emotion, and the embodiment of language comprehension.  Emotion Review, 1, 151-161.

Glenberg, A. M., & Mehta, S. (2008).  Constraint on covariation: It’s not meaning.  Italian Journal of Linguistics, 20, 241-264.

Glenberg, A. M., Becker, R., Klötzer, S., Kolanko, L, Müller , S., Rinck, M. (2009).  Episodic affordances contribute to language comprehension. Language and Cognition, 1, 113-135.

Glenberg, A. M. (2010).  Embodiment as a unifying perspective for psychology.  Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1, 586-596.

Killeen, P., & Glenberg, A. M. (2010).  Resituating cognition.   Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 4, 66-85.

Havas, D. H., Glenberg, A. M., Gutowski, K., Lucarelli, M, & Davidson, R. (2010). Cosmetic use of botulinum toxin-A affects processing of emotional language.  Psychological Science, 21, 895-900.

Marsh, E.R. & Glenberg, A. M. (2010). The embodied statistician. Frontiers in Psychology.

Rueschemeyer S, Glenberg AM, Kaschak M, Mueller K and Friederici A (2010). Top-down and bottom-up contributions to understanding sentences describing objects in motion. Frontiers in Psychology

Glenberg AM, Lopez-Mobilia G, McBeath M, Toma M, Sato M and Cattaneo L (2010). Knowing beans: Human mirror mechanisms revealed through motor adaptation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Cattaneo, L., Barchiesi, G., Tabarelli, D., Arfeller, C., Sato, M., & Glenberg, A. M. (2011). One’s motor performance predictably modulates the understanding of others’ actions through adaptation of premotor visuo-motor neurons.  Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 6, 301-310.

Sato, M., Brisebois, A., Grabski, K., Basirat, A, Ménard, L, Glenberg, A. M., & Cattaneo, L. (2011).  Articulatory bias in speech categorization: Evidence from use-induced motor plasticity. Cortex, 47, 1001-1003.

Glenberg, A. M., & Gallese, V. (2012). Action-based Language: A theory of language acquisition, comprehension, and production.  Cortex, 48, 905-922.

Glenberg, A. M. (2011).  Introduction to the Mirror Neuron Forum.  Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 363-368.

Glenberg, A. M. (2011).  Positions in the mirror are close than they appear. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 408-410.

Ibáñez, A., Cardona, J. F., Dos Santos, Y. V., Blenkmann, A., Aravena, P., Roca, M., … Bekinschtein, T. (2013). Motor-language coupling: Direct evidence from early Parkinson’s disease and intracranial cortical recordings. Cortex, 49(4), 968–984.

Glenberg, A. M., Witt, J. K., & Metcalfe, J.  (2013). From the Revolution to Embodiment: 25 Years of Cognitive Psychology. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8, 573-585.

Ibáñez, A., Cardona, J. F., Dos Santos, Y. V., Blenkmann, A., Aravena, P., Roca, M., Hurtado, E., Nerguizian, M., Amoruso, L., Gómez-Arévalo, G., Chade, A., Dubrovsky, A., Gershanik, O., Kochen, S., Glenberg, A., Manes, F., & Bekinschtein, T. (2013). Motor-language coupling: Direct evidence from early Parkinson’s disease and intracranial cortical recordings. Cortex, 49(4), 968–984.

Soliman, T., Gibson, A., Glenberg (2013).  Sensory motor mechanisms unify psychology: The embodiment of culture.  Frontiers in Psychology.

Zarr, N., Ferguson, R. & Glenberg, A. M. (2013) Language comprehension warps the mirror neuron system. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Glenberg, A. M. (2015).  Few believe the world is flat:  How embodiment is changing the scientific understanding of cognition.  Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69, 165-171.

Glenberg, A. M. (2015).  Response to Mahon:  Unburdening cognition from abstract symbols. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69, 181-182.

Glenberg, A. M. (2015).  Big Myth or Major Miss? Gregory Hickok’s “The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition.”  American Journal of Psychology. 128, 533-539.

Soliman, T., Ferguson, R., Dexheimer, S., & Glenberg, A. M. (2015).  Consequences of joint action: Entanglement with your partner.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144, 873-888.

Glenberg, A. M., & Hayes, J.  (2016). Contribution of embodiment to solving the riddle of infantile amnesia. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:10.

Glenberg, A. M. (2017). Rares sont ceux qui croient que le monde est plat: Comment l’incarnation est en train de changer la compréhension scientifique de la cognition. Recherches sur la philsophie et le langage, 33, 33-54. 

Glenberg, A. M. (2017). Commentaire: Réponse à Mahon: Décharger la cognition des symbols abstraits. Recherches sur la philsophie er le langage, 33, 77-81. 

Díez E., Díez-Álamo A.M., Wojcik D.Z., Glenberg, A.M. &  Fernandez, A. (2018). Retrieving Against the Flow: Incoherence Between Optic Flow and Movement Direction Has Little Effect on Memory for Order. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12:102.

Díez-Álamo, A. M., Glenberg, A. M., Díez, E., Alonso, M. A., Fernandez, A. (2020). The linguistic looming effect. Journal of Memory and Language, 114, 104147.

Günther, F., Nguyen, T., Chen, L. Dudschig, C., Kaup, B. & Glenberg, A. M. (2020). Immediate sensorimotor grounding of novel concepts learned from language alone. Journal of Memory and Language, 115, 104172.

Kwon, J.Y., Glenberg, A. M., Varnum, M. E. (2021). Culture, ecology, and grounded procedures. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 44, e13,

Yu, C. S. P, McBeath, M. K., & Glenberg, A.M. (in press). The Gleam-Glum Effect: /i:/ vs /˄/ Phonemes Generically Carry Emotional Valence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

Morey, R. D., Kaschak, M.P., Díez-Álamo, A. M., Glenberg, A. M., et al. (in press). A pre-registered, multi-lab non-replication of the action-sentence compatibility effect (ACE). Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 

Glenberg, A. M. (in press). Embodiment and learning of abstract concepts (such as algebraic topology and regression to the mean). Psychological Research.

Fischer, M. H., Glenberg, A. M., Moeller, K., & Shaki, S. (in press). Grounding (fairly) complex numerical knowledge: An educational example. Psychological Research. 

Reading Comprehension 

Marley, S. C., Levin, J. R., & Glenberg, A. M. (2010). What Cognitive Benefits Does an Activity-Based Reading Strategy Afford Young Native American Readers? Journal of Experimental Education. 78(3), 395 – 417.

Marley, S. C. , Szabo, Z., Levin, J. R., & Glenberg, A. M.(2011).  Investigation of an Activity-Based Text-Processing Strategy in Mixed-Age Child Dyads. The Journal of Experimental Education, 79: 3, 340-360.

Glenberg, A. M., Goldberg, A., Zhu, X. (2011).  Improving early reading comprehension using embodied CAI.   Instructional Science, 39, 27- 39.

Glenberg, A. M., Willford, J., Gibson, B. R., Goldberg, A. B., Zhu, X. (2011).  Improving reading to improve math.  Scientific Studies of Reading.

Glenberg, A. M. (2011). How reading comprehension is embodied and why that matters.  International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 4, 5-18.

Glenberg, A. M., Walker, E. A., & Restrepo, M. A. (2016) EMBRACEing dual language learners.  In S.A. Crossley & D. S. McNamara, Adaptive Educational Technologies for Literacy Instruction. Taylor & Francis, Routledge: NY, pp 268-274.

Walker, E., Adams, A., Restrepo, M. A., Fialko, S., & Glenberg, A. M. (2017). When (and how) interacting with technology-enhanced storybooks helps dual language learners. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 3(1), 66-79.

Walker, E., Wong, A., Fialko, S., Restrepo, M. A., & Glenberg, A. M. (2017). Applying Cognitive Tutor Principles to Reading Comprehension. In: André E., Baker R., Hu X., Rodrigo M., du Boulay B. (eds) Artificial Intelligence in Education. AIED 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10331. Springer, Cham.

Adams, A.M., Glenberg, A. M., & Restrepo, M.A. (2018). Moved by reading in a DLL Spanish-speaking population.  Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.

Adams, A. M., Glenberg, A. M., & Restrepo, M. A. (2019). Embodied reading in a transparent orthography. Learning and Instruction, 62, 27-36.

Lekshmi Narayanan A.B. et al. (2021) Parent-EMBRACE: An Adaptive Dialogic Reading Intervention. In: Roll I., McNamara D., Sosnovsky S., Luckin R., Dimitrova V. (eds) Artificial Intelligence in Education. AIED 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 12749. Springer, Cham.

Wall, D., Foltz, S., Kupfer, A., & Glenberg, A. M. (2021). Embodied action scaffolds dialogic reading. Educational Psychology Review.

Gómez, L., & Glenberg, A. M. (in press). Embodied Classroom Activities for Vocabulary Acquisition. In S. L. Macrine and J. Fugate (Eds.) Movement Matters: How Embodied Cognition Informs Teaching and Learning.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.