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Clin Linguist Phon. 2008 Apr-May;22(4-5):311-5. doi: 10.1080/02699200801918879.

Embodiment in communication--aphasia, apraxia and the possible role of mirroring and imitation.

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  • 1Department of Linguistics and SSKKII Center for Cognitive Science, Göteborg University, Sweden.


The role of embodiment in communication is attracting an increased interest. This interest is to some extent caused by hypotheses and findings concerning mirror neurons in macaques, that is, neurons that are activated by production as well as perception of, for example, a certain movement of action. Mirror neurons seem to provide a fairly simple mechanism for acting, perceiving, imitating and pantomime, which could be crucial to the development of human communication and language. A number of theories try to extend similar ideas in describing human embodied communication. Some of the consequences of these theories are: (1) the close relation between speech and gestures; (2) the close relation between speech/language and praxis; and (3) the reconsideration of the importance for communication of more automatized versus more controlled processing. The purpose here is to point to possible consequences for clinical research and therapy concerning language disorders.

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