The Psycho-neurology of Embodiment with Examples from Authentic Movement and Laban Movement Analysis
There is widespread agreement that thought is embodied cognition and that our earliest learning is implicit, through the body, and nonverbal expression. This article advances the proposition that the integration of thought and emotion is felt through the body. Embodiment and embodied simulation (ES) (Gallese in Neuropsychoanalysis 13(2):196–200, 2011) represent controversial topics in both the philosophy of mind (Clark in Being there: Putting brain, body, and world together again, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1998) and cognitive neuroscience (Gallagher in Cognitive Syst Res 34–35:35–43, 2015a; Gallagher in Conscious Cogn 36:452–465, 2015b; Gallese & Sinigaglia in J Conscious Stud 18(7–8):117–143, 2011a; Gallese in Philos Trans R Soc B 369(1644):20130177, 2014). As a result of advances in these areas of research, there is a need to re-conceptualize our understanding of the mechanisms and processes involved in dance movement psychotherapy. Could ES be applied to the psychology of movement? This article attempts to apply this theory of embodiment to the practice of Authentic Movement (AM) and Laban Movement Analysis. The theory of ES is proposed as one possible explanation of how the witness in AM comes to know her inner experience in the presence of a mover, which may lead to an “offering” to that mover from the witness’ conscious body (Adler in Offering from the conscious body: The discipline of Authentic Movement, Inner Traditions, Rochester, VT, 2002). Furthermore, there is an examination of how ES connects to the task of movement observation and how meaning is arrived at from the various movement patterns observed.