Is it enough to construe conceptual processes in terms of abstract symbolic mechanisms or is it necessary to link up symbols with information about objects and actions? If both symbolic and grounded information contribute to semantics, how is their emergence and interplay best explained? Can abstract information be extracted from concrete experience, and, if so, based on which mechanisms? What can mathematical models of cognition and neural function contribute to the explanation of concepts and meaning? And what is the role of cognitive and brain research in evaluating neurocognitive models at different stages? Are there recent breakthroughs in the understanding of abstract meaning processing as it occurs, for example, when subjects comprehend abstract words or negated sentences? This symposium will bring together expert theorists and experimentalists in the field of semantic and conceptual processing in order to address these questions and potentially develop new explanations for the unique human faculty to creatively use abstract symbols, with special emphasis on their biological basis in the interplay between neurocognitive systems for action, perception and cognition.
Session 1, 14:30 – 16:20 h
Anna Borghi, Rome: Grounding of abstract words in sensorimotor, linguistic and social experience
Guy Dove, Louisville: Rethinking embodiment: Abstract concepts and the flexible mind
Martin Fischer, Potsdam: Why numbers are abstract concepts
Gabriella Vigliocco, Armand Rotaru, Alessandro Lenci, Marta Ponari, Courtenay Norbury, London/Pisa/Kent: Learning concrete and abstract semantics: Insights from developmental and simulated language disorders.
Session 2, 16:34 – 18:15 h
Art Glenberg, Phoenix/Tempe: Individual differences reveal the embodied nature of language comprehension
Michael A. Arbib, Los Angeles, San Diego: What sort of brain could build on the understanding that a cup is like a doughnut to develop a category-theoretic approach to program semantics?
Friedemann Pulvermüller, Berlin: Concrete mechanisms for abstract meaning
General Discussion (questions from the audience welcome!)
05.09.2017 | 14:30 - 20:00
Campus III (Golm), Building 6 (Lecture hall building)