Embodied Simulation and Touch: the Sense of Touch in Social Cognition

Vittorio Gallese, Sjoerd Ebisch


This paper explores the sense of touch in relation to social cognition offering a new take on multisensory integration in the brain, within the framework of Embodied simulation (ES) theory. ES provides a new empirically based notion of intersubjectivity, viewed first and foremost as intercorporeality. In relation to touch, by means of ES we do not just “see” a sensation experienced by someone else and then understand it through an inference by analogy. By means of ES we can map others’ sensations by re-using our own motor, somatosensory and viscero-motor representations. ES provides an original and unitary account of basic aspects of intersubjectivity, demonstrating how deeply our making sense of others’ living and acting bodies is rooted in the power of re-using our own motor, somatosensory and viscero-motor resources.


empathy; embodied simulation; mirror neurons; multisensory integration; social cognition; touch

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/Phe_Mi-19602

  Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY- 4.0)

Firenze University Press
Via Cittadella, 7 - 50144 Firenze
Tel. (0039) 055 2757700 Fax (0039) 055 2757712
E-mail: info@fupress.com