Grounded Cognition – 2-IKV-236/15

The course objective is to provide students with deeper insight into up-to-date research trends in cognitive science, from the perspective of various disciplines (empirical and computational). The course focus is on grounded (embodied) cognition, with emphasis on language. The course should also help students in their ability to interpret scientific papers, to formulate, present and defend ideas.

The course is a part of Master Programme in Cognitive Science.

Course schedule

Type Day Time Room Lecturer
Lecture Tuesday 10:00 I-23 Igor Farkaš
Presentations Tuesday 11:40 I-23 students


Note: Papers marked with (*) are offered for student's presentation. Slides of your presentations are here.

Date Topic References
26.09. Introduction: concepts, language components, computational approaches to language processing.


03.10. Towards embodied cognition. Contrasting symbolic and embodied cognition.

♦ Wilson M. (2002). Six views of embodied cognition. Psychonomics Bulletin Review, 9(4), 625-636. slides
♦ Ziemke T. (2003). What's that thing called embodiment? Proc. of the 25th Annual Conf. of the Cog. Sci. Society, 1134-1139. (Ales O.)
♦ Barsalou L. (2008). Grounded cognition. Annual Reviews of Psychology, 59: 617-45. (Caroline H.)

10.10. Mirror neuron system -- prerequisite for action understanding, social cognition and language?

♦ Rizzolatti G. & Sinigaglia C. (2010). The functional role of the parieto-frontal mirror circuit: Interpretations and misinterpretations. Nature Rev. Neurosci., 11, 264-274. slides
♦ Giese M. & Rizzolatti G. (2015). Neural and computational mechanisms of action processing: Interaction between visual and motor representations. Neuron, 88, 167-180. (Sara J.)

17.10. Common coding theory, motor simulation, mental simulation.

♦ Jeannerod M.J. (2001). Neural simulation of action: A unifying mechanism for motor cognition, NeuroImage, 14, 103–109, doi:10.1006/nimg.2001.0832
♦ Smith A.H. (2006). Motor cognition and mental simulation. Chapter in Smith E. & Kosslyn S. (eds.): Cognitive Psychology: Mind and Brain, Prentice Hall, 2007, pp. 451-481. (Imani R.)
♦ van der Wel R., Sebanz N., Knoblich G. (2013). Action perception from a common coding perspective. Chapter in K. Johnson and M. Schiffrar (Eds.), People Watching: Social, Perceptual, and Neurophysiological Studies of Body Perception, Oxford University Press (Gregory B.)

24.10. Language as action.

♦ Glenberg A. & Kaschak M. (2002) Grounding language in action. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 9(3), 558-565.
♦ Pulvermueller F. (2005) Brain mechanisms linking language and action. Nature Rev. Neurosci., 6(7), 576-582. (Anja L.)
♦ Arbib M., Gasser B., Barrès V. (2014). Language is handy but is it embodied?. Neuropsychologia, 55, 57–70. (Alja D.)

31.10. No class. (holiday)
07.11. Conceptual and linguistic systems - two theories.

♦ Barsalou L. et al. (2008). Language and simulation in conceptual processing. In: de Vega, Glenberg & Graesser (eds), Symbols and Embodiment: Debates on Meaning and Cognition, OUP, 245-283.
♦ Evans V. (2009). Semantic representation in LCCM Theory. In: New Directions in Cognitive Linguistics, ed. By V. Evans & S. Pourcel. John Benjamins. (Marko B.)

14.11. Developmental cognitive robotics.

♦ Mirolli M., Parisi D. (2009). Towards a Vygotskyan cognitive robotics: The role of language as a cognitive tool. New Ideas in Psychology, doi:10.1016/j.newideapsych.2009.07.001
♦ Farkaš I., Malík T., Rebrová K. (2012). Grounding the meanings in sensorimotor behavior using reinforcement learning. Frontiers in Neurorobotics 6(1). doi: 10.3389/fnbot.2012.00001 (Franz P.)
♦ Lallee S. et al. (2010). Linking language with embodied and teleological representations of action for humanoid cognition. Frontiers in Neurorobotics, doi:10.3389.10/fnbot.2010.00008 (Anze I.)

21.11. Symbol grounding, autonomous construction of meaning.

♦ Steels L. (2008) The symbol grounding problem has been solved, so what’s next?. In: de Vega, Glenberg & Graesser (eds), Symbols and Embodiment: Debates on Meaning and Cognition, OUP, 223-244.
♦ Takáč M. (2008) Autonomous construction of ecologically and socially relevant semantics. Cognitive Systems Research, 9(4): 293-311. (Isabela B.)

28.11. Meaning as statistical covariation.

♦ Landauer T., Dumais D. (2008) Latent semantic analysis, Scholarpedia, 3(11):4356. wiki
♦ Glenberg, A. M., & Mehta, S. (2008) Constraint on covariation: It’s not meaning. Italian Journal of Linguistics, 20, 33-53. (Tim R.)
♦ Mikolov T. et al. (2013). Efficient estimation of word representations in vector space., Cornell University Library. (Dafne M.)

05.12. Unification attempts.

♦ Louwerse M. (2010). Symbol interdependency in symbolic and embodied cognition. Topics in Cognitive Science, 1-30, doi:10.1111/j.1756-8765.2010.01106.x
♦ Dove G. (2011). On the need for embodied and dis-embodied cognition. Frontiers in Psychology, 1:242, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2010.00242 (Tomaz B.)

12.12. Group discussion, reflection. tba


  • Active participation during the course (40%).
  • Paper presentation (20%).
  • Final written-oral exam (40%).
  • Overall grading: A (50-46), B (45-41), C (40-36), D (35-31), E (30-26), Fx (25-0).
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