Embodied emotions: action, reaction and interaction in the León Cathedral

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Human communication is the act of succesfully transmitting a message between two agents, the sender and the receiver, both of them using the rules of a common code. The process is accurate and complete when the sender encodes the message as a signal, sends it through a channel to the receiver, who decrypts the signal, extracts the information and performs an interpretation.
The signals might be of a different kind including those of verbal and non verbal language. Among the latter are body movements, gestures, postures and facial expressions, all of them being some of the resources most used by humans
when exteriorizing feelings. On the other side, the channels through which the communication is established are also of various kinds. As far as
emotions are concerned, art has played a definitive role throughout the history of mankind, becoming one of the universal communication channels.
Pictures and visual depictions have thus been used by humans across time and space to express their most inner thoughts, passions and feelings. Further
on, embodied emotions have also served as an excellent channel to provoke a particular reaction, response and behaviour in potential beholders.
This paper aims to deepen into this emotional communication process established between patrons, material authors, pictures and spectators.
Issues thus related to the agency, performativity, efficiency and power of images will be discussed. The study proposes to consider historical,
cultural and other contextual factors together with empirical data from the cognitive sciences in order to assess the reaction and empathetic understanding
of visual imagery.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationL'Église, lieu de performances
Subtitle of host publicationIn locis competentibus
EditorsStéphanie-Diane Daussy
Place of PublicationParis
PublisherÉditions Picard
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)978-2-7084-1015-2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Body Language
  • Middle Ages
  • Embodied Emotions
  • Visual Depictions
  • Pictures


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