Embodied economics

We know that extended mind discussion is entering unlikley quarters. The same it seems is happening with embodiment. Check out this recent paper “Embodied economics: how bodily information shapes the social coordination dynamics of decision-making” by Olivier Oullier and Frederic Basso.

To date, experiments in economics are restricted to situations in which individuals are not influenced by the physical presence of other people. In such contexts, interactions remain at an abstract level, agents guessing what another person is thinking or is about to decide based on money exchange. Physical presence and bodily signals are therefore left out of the picture. However, in real life, social interactions (involving economic decisions or not) are not solely determined by a person’s inference about someone else’s state-of-mind. In this essay, we argue for embodied economics: an approach to neuroeconomics that takes into account how information provided by the entire body and its coordination dynamics influences the way we make economic decisions. Considering the role of embodiment in economics—movements, posture, sensitivity to mimicry and every kind of information the body conveys—makes sense. This is what we claim in this essay which, to some extent, constitutes a plea to consider bodily interactions between agents in social (neuro)economics.