This chapter examines the historically prevalent models of cognition that have shaped research methods and techniques in some of the fields associated with sound design. It discusses the efficacy of disembodied models of cognition, which, in favor of reductive explanations, overlook how embodied and perceptual experience can shape and constrain cognitive function. The chapter is particularly concerned with sonic meaning-making - the process by which a listener interprets or assigns meaning to a sonic symbol - as this process is crucial to sound design research. It chronicles developments in psychoacoustics, computing, cognitive science and music, and suggests that sound design research should adopt embodied models of cognition. Such models have more recently come to the fore in these fields, and offer more convincing accounts of meaning-making by addressing how our physical, perceptual and sensorimotor dimensions shape and constrain cognition.