Moving arms: the effects of sensorimotor information on the problem-solving process

Thinking and Reasoning 25 (2):171-191 (2018)
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Embodied cognition postulates a bi-directional link between the human body and its cognitive functions. Whether this holds for higher cognitive functions such as problem solving is unknown. We predicted that arm movement manipulations performed by the participants could affect the problem-solving solutions. We tested this prediction in quantitative reasoning tasks that allowed two solutions to each problem. In two studies with healthy adults, we found an effect of problem-congruent movements on problem solutions. Consistent with embodied cognition, sensorimotor information gained via right or left arm movements affects the solution in different types of problem-solving tasks.



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Martin Fischer
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München