The embodied and situated nature of moods
© The Author(s) 2017. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
In this paper I argue that it is misleading to regard the brain as the physical basis or “core machinery” of moods. First, empirical evidence shows that brain activity not only influences, but is in turn influenced by, physical activity taking place in other parts of the organism (such as the endocrine and immune systems). It is therefore not clear why the core machinery of moods ought to be restricted to the brain. I propose, instead, that moods should be conceived as embodied, i.e., their physical basis should be enlarged so as to comprise not just brain but also bodily processes. Second, I emphasise that moods are also situated in the world. By this I do not simply mean that moods are influenced by the world, but that they are complexly interrelated with it, in at least three different ways: they are shaped by cultural values and norms; they are materially and intersubjectively “scaffolded”; and they can even “experientially incorporate” parts of the world, i.e., include the experience of parts of the world as part of oneself.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Springer via the DOI in this record.
First Online: 13 February 2017