Affordances and Interaction with Objects

The affordance an individual derives from an object is neither objective nor subjective. It is equally a fact of the environment and a fact of behavior (Gibson, 1979, p. 129). Depending on the constraints of one's body, on the perceptual characteristics of the object in question, and on the situation at hand, we derive different affordances from objects. Perception is filtered and influenced by action, so affordances are interactive. An object blocking our way might afford the action of...

Same Object YN

Schematic depiction of an experimental trial in Zwaan et al. (2004). figure 10.3. Schematic depiction of an experimental trial in Zwaan et al. (2004). After each sentence, they saw two pictures each presented briefly and separated by a mask (see Figure 10.3). On critical trials, the depicted object was mentioned in the sentence (e.g., a softball). Crucially, the second picture was either bigger or smaller than the first one, thus suggesting movement toward or away from the viewer....

The Language of Direct Experience

The mapping of direct experiences onto linguistic form is confined in English to the level of individual words, including nouns, verbs, and adjectives. The noun banana packages together all our experiences with this object into a single unanalyzed whole. Verbs encode images of direct action, often in relation to movements of the body. When we hear the word walk, we immediately activate the basic elements of the physical components of walking (Narayanan, 1997). These include alternating motions...

Rolf A Zwaan and Carol J Madden

There are two views of cognition in general and of language comprehension in particular. According to the traditional view (Chomsky, 1957 Fodor, 1983 Pylyshyn, 1986), the human mind is like a bricklayer, or maybe a contractor, who puts together bricks to build structures. The malleable clay of perception is converted to the neat mental bricks we call words and propositions, units of meaning, which can be used in a variety of structures. But whereas bricklayers and contractors presumably know...

Moral concepts Emotions in Moral Cognition

Abstract concepts are too varied to consider collectively in one paper. My strategy here will be to consider one class of abstract concept within an empiricist framework. These are the moral concepts. More specifically, I want to consider the fundamental concepts of (morally) good and bad. When we say that something is morally bad, we do not seem to be commenting on its appearance. We are not suggesting that it looks or tastes a particular way. There is an obvious retort to this. Moral truths...

Summary

Overall, neuroimaging and behavioral evidence is consistent with the idea that concept-nouns activate motor responses automatically. This has been demonstrated thus far only for simple manipulatory actions such as grasping and reaching the object's parts, directly afforded by characteristics such as shape and size, and not for complex actions involving access to functional knowledge. Barsalou and Borghi (2004) found that when asked what is typically included in complex actions such as eating,...

Raymond W Gibbs Jr

How would you describe the way you think about your life When asked this question, many people immediately embrace some convenient metaphor to characterize their self-conception. Consider two narratives from individuals in their late 40s who had re-entered college to finally obtain their degrees. The first, Sara, talked of her life as being a journey. She said that completing school was critical because it's important to where I want to end up. It represents this little highway to, um, a new...

Info

Averages are weighted by the number of observations in each concept type x cluster type cell of the design. Averages are weighted by the number of observations in each concept type x cluster type cell of the design. situations may often be central to the content of abstract concepts. This is consistent with Hypothesis 2's prediction that abstract concepts focus attention on complex conceptual structures in background situations. Abstract concepts were also most likely to exhibit two forms of...

Arthur M Glenberg David Havas Raymond Becker and Mike Rinck

It has become increasingly clear over the past few years that the symbols used by language become meaningful through grounding. For example, Glenberg and Kaschak (2002) demonstrated that some linguistic constructions are grounded in literal action, and Pecher, Zeelenberg, and Barsalou (2003), as well as Stanfield and Zwaan (2001), showed how language is grounded in perceptual and imaginal states, respectively. In this chapter, we report initial results demonstrating how language may also be...

Situating Abstract Concepts

Barsalou and Katja Wiemer-Hastings Roughly speaking, an abstract concept refers to entities that are neither purely physical nor spatially constrained. Such concepts pose a classic problem for theories that ground knowledge in modality-specific systems (e.g., Barsalou, 1999, 2003a,b). How could these systems represent a concept like TRUTH 1 Abstract concepts also pose a significant problem for traditional theories that represent knowledge with amodal symbols. Surprisingly, few...

Robert L Goldstone Ying Feng and Brian J Rogosky

Consider two individuals, John and Mary, who each possess a number of concepts. How can we determine that John and Mary both have a concept of, say, Horse John and Mary may not have exactly the same knowledge of horses, but it is important to be able to place their horse concepts into correspondence with one another, if only so that we can say things like, Mary's concept of horse is much more sophisticated than John's. Concepts should be public in the sense that they can be possessed by more...

Idiomatic and Conventional Expressions

There is a extensive literature demonstrating that conceptual metaphors may play a role in people's understanding of individual phrases and larger textual units (see Gibbs, 1994,1999). Consistent with the claims of cognitive linguists, there is also evidence that people tacitly recognize the embodied nature of many conceptual metaphors. One set of psycholinguistic studies examined how people's intuitions of the bodily experience of containment, and several other image schemas, which serve as...

Dynamicity Fictivity and Scanning

The Imaginative Basis of Logic and Linguistic Meaning The last quarter century has seen the emergence of what has come to be known as cognitive semantics. This collective endeavor has vastly expanded and profoundly altered our view of both meaning and its relation to grammar. It offers new solutions to classic problems. More fundamentally, it reshapes the entire conceptual landscape within which the problems themselves are posed and formulated.1 The most basic development is simply the...