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)
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.
According to grounded cognition, words whose semantics contain sensory-motor features activate sensory-motor simulations, which, in turn, interact with spatial responses to produce grounded congruency effects. Growing evidence shows these congruency effects do not always occur, suggesting instead that the grounded features in a word's meaning do not become active automatically across contexts. Researchers sometimes use this as evidence that concepts are not grounded, further concluding that grounded information is peripheral to the amodal cores of concepts. We first review broad evidence (...) that words do not have conceptual cores, and that even the most salient features in a word's meaning are not activated automatically. Then, in three experiments, we provide further evidence that grounded congruency effects rely dynamically on context, with the central grounded features in a concept becoming active only when the current context makes them salient. Even when grounded features are central to a word's meaning, their activation depends on task conditions. (shrink)
According to the Perceptual Symbols Theory of cognition (Barsalou, 1999), modality‐specific simulations underlie the representation of concepts. A strong prediction of this view is that perceptual processing affects conceptual processing. In this study, participants performed a perceptual detection task and a conceptual property‐verification task in alternation. Responses on the property‐verification task were slower for those trials that were preceded by a perceptual trial in a different modality than for those that were preceded by a perceptual trial in the same modality. (...) This finding of a modality‐switch effect across perceptual processing and conceptual processing supports the hypothesis that perceptual and conceptual representations are partially based on the same systems. (shrink)
Grounded cognition offers a natural approach for integrating Bayesian accounts of optimality with mechanistic accounts of cognition, the brain, the body, the physical environment, and the social environment. The constructs of simulator and situated conceptualization illustrate how Bayesian priors and likelihoods arise naturally in grounded mechanisms to predict and control situated action.
In response to Casasanto, Brookshire, and Ivry, we address four points: First, we engaged in conceptual replications of Brookshire, Casasanto, and Ivry, not direct replications. Second, we did not question the validity of Brookshire et al.'s results, nor the similar findings of other researchers, but instead explained divergent findings within an integrated theoretical framework. Third, challenges to the construct of automaticity, including ours, were widespread, long before Brookshire et al.'s article. Fourth, the planned comparisons that we reported tested our theoretical (...) claims and offered strong evidence for them. (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.