I investigate cognition from the perspective of the embodied mind. I am particularly interested in high-level cognitive phenomena such as conceptual systems, abstraction, and inference mechanisms, as they manifest themselves naturally through largely unconscious bodily/mental activity (e.g., gesture production co-produced with conceptual metaphors and blends). My multidisciplinary interests bring me to address these issues from various interrelated perspectives: mathematical cognition, the empirical study of spontaneous gestures, cognitive linguistics, psychological experiments, neuroimaging, and field research investigating spatial construals of time in the Aymara culture of the Andes. My book, Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being (with UC Berkeley linguist George Lakoff) presents a new theoretical framework for understanding the human nature of Mathematics and its foundations.
I am the director of the Embodied Cognition Laboratory at UCSD, with lab space and members dedicated to investigating how cognition is grounded on the peculiarities, experiences, and limitations of the human body.