ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (12): 1393-1404.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.01393

• Theory and History of Psychology • Previous Articles    

The meaning of the body: Enactive approach to emotion

YE Haosheng1, SU Jiajia2(), SU Dequan1()   

  1. 1Research Center of Psychology & Brain Science, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
    2School of Teacher Education, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, China
  • Received:2021-03-16 Published:2021-12-25 Online:2021-10-26
  • Contact: SU Jiajia,SU Dequan;
  • Supported by:
    Key project “Research on physical exercise and psychological development” funded by NSFC in the later stage(20FTYA002)


The emotion theory of enactivism looks at the dynamic function of emotion from the perspective of “sense-making”, and advocates that emotion and cognition are intertwined and closely related to the bodily activities of organisms adapting to the environment. Emotion is the emotion of the body, and the body is the body in emotional experience. The body plays a constitutive role in emotional experience. According to this view, emotion is a positive action tendency, which is an embodied action based on understanding the meaning of environment. Emotion does not occur in the skull of an organism, but in the interaction and coupling of brain, body and environment. Because cognition and emotion are unified in the activities of organism sense-making from the perspective of enactivism, the 4E attribute of cognition must also be reflected in emotion, which makes emotion and affection also have the characteristics of embodiment, embedding, extension and enaction. The enactive theory of emotion provides a new perspective for understanding emotion and then the essence of consciousness.

Key words: emotion, enactivism, sense-making, embodied cognition