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Trends Cogn Sci. 2011 Nov;15(11):512-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2011.09.003. Epub 2011 Oct 7.

What is so special about embodied simulation?

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Parma, Parma, Italy.


Simulation theories of social cognition abound in the literature, but it is often unclear what simulation means and how it works. The discovery of mirror neurons, responding both to action execution and observation, suggested an embodied approach to mental simulation. Over the past few years this approach has been hotly debated and alternative accounts have been proposed. We discuss these accounts and argue that they fail to capture the uniqueness of embodied simulation (ES). ES theory provides a unitary account of basic social cognition, demonstrating that people reuse their own mental states or processes represented with a bodily format in functionally attributing them to others.

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