One of the central insights of the embodied cognition (EC) movement is that cognition is closely tied to action. In this paper, I formulate an EC-inspired hypothesis concerning social cognition. In this domain, most think that our capacity to understand and interact with one another is best explained by appeal to some form of mindreading. I argue that prominent accounts of mindreading likely contain a significant lacuna. Evidence indicates that what I call an agent's actional processes and states-her goals, needs, intentions, desires, and so on-likely play important roles in and for mindreading processes. If so, a full understanding of mindreading processes and their role in cognition more broadly will require an understanding of how actional mental processes interact with, influence, or take part in mindreading processes.

Action, Embodied cognition, Mindreading, Social cognition, Social psychology
Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Department of Philosophy

Shepherd, J. (2012). Action, mindreading and embodied social cognition. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 11(4), 507–518. doi:10.1007/s11097-011-9241-z