Grounded theories assume that there is no central module for cognition. According to this view, all cognitive phenomena, including those considered the province of amodal cognition such as reasoning, numeric and language processing, are ultimately grounded in (and emerge from) a variety of bodily, affective, perceptual and motor processes. The development and expression of cognition is constrained by the embodiment of cognitive agents and various contextual factors (physical and social) in which they are immersed. The grounded framework has received numerous (...) empirical confirmations. Still, there are very few explicit computational models that implement grounding in sensory, motor and affective processes as intrinsic to cognition, and demonstrate that grounded theories can mechanistically implement higher cognitive abilities. We propose a new alliance between grounded cognition and computational modeling towards a novel multidisciplinary enterprise: Computational Grounded Cognition. We clarify the defining features of this novel approach and emphasize the importance of using the methodology of Cognitive Robotics, which permits simultaneous consideration of multiple aspects of grounding, embodiment, and situatedness, showing how they constrain the development and expression of cognition. (shrink)
Embodied theories are increasingly challenging traditional views of cognition by arguing that conceptual representations that constitute our knowledge are grounded in sensory and motor experiences, and processed at this sensorimotor level, rather than being represented and processed abstractly in an amodal conceptual system. Given the established empirical foundation, and the relatively underspecified theories to date, many researchers are extremely interested in embodied cognition but are clamouring for more mechanistic implementations. What is needed at this stage is a push toward explicit (...) computational models that implement sensory-motor grounding as intrinsic to cognitive processes. In this article, six authors from varying backgrounds and approaches address issues concerning the construction of embodied computational models, and illustrate what they view as the critical current and next steps toward mechanistic theories of embodiment. The first part has the form of a dialogue between two fictional characters: Ernest, the “experimenter”, and Mary, the “computational modeller”. The dialogue consists of an interactive sequence of questions, requests for clarification, challenges, and (tentative) answers, and touches the most important aspects of grounded theories that should inform computational modeling and, conversely, the impact that computational modeling could have on embodied theories. The second part of the article discusses the most important open challenges for embodied computational modelling. (shrink)
Thirty years ago, grounded cognition had roots in philosophy, perception, cognitive linguistics, psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuropsychology. During the next 20 years, grounded cognition continued developing in these areas, and it also took new forms in robotics, cognitive ecology, cognitive neuroscience, and developmental psychology. In the past 10 years, research on grounded cognition has grown rapidly, especially in cognitive neuroscience, social neuroscience, cognitive psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology. Currently, grounded cognition appears to be achieving increased acceptance throughout cognitive (...) science, shifting from relatively minor status to increasing importance. Nevertheless, researchers wonder whether grounded mechanisms lie at the heart of the cognitive system or are peripheral to classic symbolic mechanisms. Although grounded cognition is currently dominated by demonstration experiments in the absence of well-developed theories, the area is likely to become increasingly theory driven over the next 30 years. Another likely development is the increased incorporation of grounding mechanisms into cognitive architectures and into accounts of classic cognitive phenomena. As this incorporation occurs, much functionality of these architectures and phenomena is likely to remain, along with many original mechanisms. Future theories of grounded cognition are likely to be heavily influenced by both cognitive neuroscience and social neuroscience, and also by developmental science and robotics. Aspects from the three major perspectives in cognitive science—classic symbolic architectures, statistical/dynamical systems, and grounded cognition—will probably be integrated increasingly in future theories, each capturing indispensable aspects of intelligence. (shrink)
Various defenses of amodal symbol systems are addressed, including amodal symbols in sensory-motor areas, the causal theory of concepts, supramodal concepts, latent semantic analysis, and abstracted amodal symbols. Various aspects of perceptual symbol systems are clarified and developed, including perception, features, simulators, category structure, frames, analogy, introspection, situated action, and development. Particular attention is given to abstract concepts, language, and computational mechanisms.
Prior to the twentieth century, theories of knowledge were inherently perceptual. Since then, developments in logic, statis- tics, and programming languages have inspired amodal theories that rest on principles fundamentally different from those underlying perception. In addition, perceptual approaches have become widely viewed as untenable because they are assumed to implement record- ing systems, not conceptual systems. A perceptual theory of knowledge is developed here in the context of current cognitive science and neuroscience. During perceptual experience, association areas in the (...) brain capture bottom-up patterns of activation in sensory-motor areas. Later, in a top-down manner, association areas partially reactivate sensory-motor areas to implement perceptual symbols. The stor- age and reactivation of perceptual symbols operates at the level of perceptual components – not at the level of holistic perceptual expe- riences. Through the use of selective attention, schematic representations of perceptual components are extracted from experience and stored in memory (e.g., individual memories of green, purr, hot). As memories of the same component become organized around a com- mon frame, they implement a simulator that produces limitless simulations of the component (e.g., simulations of purr). Not only do such simulators develop for aspects of sensory experience, they also develop for aspects of proprioception (e.g., lift, run) and introspec- tion (e.g., compare, memory, happy, hungry). Once established, these simulators implement a basic conceptual system that represents types, supports categorization, and produces categorical inferences. These simulators further support productivity, propositions, and ab- stract concepts, thereby implementing a fully functional conceptual system. Productivity results from integrating simulators combinato- rially and recursively to produce complex simulations. Propositions result from binding simulators to perceived individuals to represent type-token relations. Abstract concepts are grounded in complex simulations of combined physical and introspective events. Thus, a per- ceptual theory of knowledge can implement a fully functional conceptual system while avoiding problems associated with amodal sym- bol systems. Implications for cognition, neuroscience, evolution, development, and artificial intelligence are explored. (shrink)
Contrary to prevailing views, productivity and propositional construal are not problematic for perceptual views of representation. Glenberg's embodied representations contribute to our understanding of how these two important processes might be implemented perceptually.