I address the commentators' calls for clarification of theoretical terms, discussion of similarities to other proposals, and extension of the ideas. In doing so, I keep the focus on the purpose of memory: enabling the organism to make sense of its environment so that it can take action appropriate to constraints resulting from the physical, personal, social, and cultural situations.
Cognitive scientists have a variety of approaches to studying cognition: experimental psychology, computer science, robotics, neuroscience, educational psychology, philosophy of mind, and psycholinguistics, to name but a few. In addition, they also differ in their approaches to cognition - some of them consider that the mind works basically like a computer, involving programs composed of abstract, amodal, and arbitrary symbols. Others claim that cognition is embodied - that is, symbols must be grounded on perceptual, motoric, and emotional experience. The existence (...) of such different approaches has consequences when dealing with practical issues such as understanding brain disorders, designing artificial intelligence programs and robots, improving psychotherapy, or designing instructional programs. The symbolist and embodiment camps seldom engage in any kind of debate to clarify their differences. This book is the first attempt to do so. It brings together a team of outstanding scientists, adopting symbolist and embodied viewpoints, in an attempt to understand how the mind works and the nature of linguistic meaning. As well as being interdisciplinary, all authors have made an attempt to find solutions to substantial issues beyond specific vocabularies and techniques. (shrink)
Language comprehension requires a simulation that uses neural systems involved in perception, action, and emotion. A review of recent literature as well as new experiments support five predictions derived from this framework. 1. Being in an emotional state congruent with sentence content facilitates sentence comprehension. 2. Because women are more reactive to sad events and men are more reactive to angry events, women understand sentences about sad events with greater facility than men, and men understand sentences about angry events with (...) greater facility than women. 3. Because it takes time to shift from one emotion to another, reading a sad sentence slows the reading of a happy sentence more for women than men, whereas reading an angry sentence slows the reading of a happy sentence more for men than for women. 4. Because sad states motivate affiliative actions and angry states motivate aggressive action, gender and emotional content of sentences interact with the response mode. 5. Because emotion simulation requires particular action systems, adapting those action systems will affect comprehension of sentences with emotional content congruent with the adapted action system. These results have implications for the study of language, emotion, and gender differences. (shrink)
Pickering & Garrod's (P&G's) interactive alignment model explains the existence of alignment between speakers via an automatic priming mechanism. We propose that it may be preferable to explain alignment through processes of memory retrieval. Our discussion highlights how memory retrieval can produce the same results as the priming mechanism and presents data that favor the memory-based view.
An embodied movement-planning field cannot account for behavior and cognition more abstract than that of reaching. Instead, we propose an affordance field, and we sketch how it could enhance the analysis of the A-not-B error, underlie cognition, and serve as a base for language. Admittedly, a dynamic systems account of an affordance field awaits significant further development.
Standard models of cognition are built from abstract, amodal, arbitrary symbols, and the meanings of those symbols are given solely by their interrelations. The target article (Glenberg 1997t) argues that these models must be inadequate because meaning cannot arise from relations among abstract symbols. For cognitive representations to be meaningful they must, at the least, be grounded; but abstract symbols are difficult, if not impossible, to ground. As an alternative, the target article developed a framework in which representations are grounded (...) in perception and action, and hence are embodied. Recent work (Glenberg & Robertson 1999; 2000; Glenberg & Kaschak 2002; Kaschak & Glenberg 2000) extends this framework to language. (shrink)
A strong case can be made that the cognitive system is designed for guiding action, not, for example, symbol manipulation. I review empirical work demonstrating the link between action and cognition with special attention to the processes of language comprehension. Next, I sketch an embodied cognition framework for integrating work on language understanding with a more general approach to cognition and action. This general approach considers contributions to action of bodily states, emotions, social and cultural processes, and learning within a (...) framework that generates a dynamic system. This framework is used to consider the notion of distributed cognition and the prospects that technology might induce substantial changes in cognition. My assessment is that such changes are unlikely. (shrink)
Barsalou proposes (sect. 4.1.6) that perceptual symbols play a role in language processing. Data from our laboratory document this role and suggest the sorts of constraints used by simulators during language comprehension.
Ballard et al. claim that fixations bind variables to cognitive pointers. I comment on three aspects of this claim: (1) its contribution to the interpretation of indexical language; (2) empirical support for the use of very few deictic pointers; (3) nonetheless, abstract pointers cannot be taken as prototypical cognitive representations.
Niedenthal et al. recognize that cultural differences are important when interpreting facial expressions. Nonetheless, many of their core observations derive more from individualistic cultures than from collectivist cultures. We discuss two examples from the latter: (1) lower rates of mutual eye contact, and (2) the ubiquity of specific These examples suggest constraints on the assumptions and applicability of the SIMS model.