Skip to main content
Embodied metaphors and creative "acts"
Psychological Science
  • Angela K.-Y. LEUNG, Singapore Management University
  • Suntae KIM, University of Michigan
  • Evan POLMAN, New York University
  • Lay See ONG, Singapore Management University
  • Lin QIU, Nanyang Technological University
  • Jack A. GONCOLA, Cornell University
  • Jeffrey SANCHEZ-BURKS, University of Michigan
Publication Type
Journal Article
Publication Date
Creativity is a highly sought after skill. To inspire people’s creativity, prescriptive advice in the form of metaphors abound: We are encouraged to think outside the box, to consider the problem on one hand, then on the other hand, and to put two and two together to achieve creative breakthroughs. These metaphors suggest a connection between concrete bodily experiences and creative cognition. Inspired by recent advances on body-mind linkages under the emerging vernacular of embodied cognition, we explored for the first time whether enacting metaphors for creativity enhances creative problem-solving. In five studies, findings revealed that both physically and psychologically embodying creative metaphors promote fluency, flexibility, and/or originality in problem-solving. Going beyond prior research that focused primarily on the kind of embodiment that primes preexisting knowledge, we provide the first evidence that embodiment can also activate cognitive processes conducive for generating previously unknown ideas and connections.
  • creativity,
  • cognitive processes,
  • mental models
Copyright Owner and License
Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Additional URL
Citation Information
Angela K.-Y. LEUNG, Suntae KIM, Evan POLMAN, Lay See ONG, et al.. "Embodied metaphors and creative "acts"" Psychological Science Vol. 23 Iss. 5 (2012) p. 502 - 509 ISSN: 0956-7976
Available at: