Toward a radically embodied, embedded social psychology

Kerry L. Marsh, Lucy Johnston, Michael J. Richardson, R. C. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


A roadmap toward a more radically embodied social psychology is offered. The perspective embeds embodied minds in a niche: A physical and social environment with action possibilities ("affordances") that humans are equipped to utilize. At the heart of this embedded perspective is the suggestion that the methods and conceptualizations of integrating the body into social psychology must be inherently more relational, approaching meaning as emerging from the relation of the individual to its environment, as instantiated in the affordance construct (Gibson, 1977, 1979). Moreover, a more radical embodiment also demands that scientists reexamine the environment, in a way that goes beyond the truism that the environment influences the individual, to understand how meaning's emergence from individual-environment interactions obeys universal dynamical principles. In addition, the perspective illustrates that embedding an individual within an emergent social unit of action, a dyadic relationship or a group, provides new possibilities for perceiving and acting that both constrain and extend an individual's way of interacting with the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217-1225
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


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