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 (psychological, neural and computational). The course focus is on grounded (embodied) cognition, and its relation to 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.


11. 9. 2018
We start on Tuesday, 25th September.

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.

Date Topic References
25.09. Introduction to language and key issues about concepts.

♦ Wiki: Language
♦ Margolis E., Laurence S. (2014). Concepts, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

02.10. Towards embodied cognition.

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

09.10. Mirror neuron system -- and its role(s) in cognition.

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

16.10. 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, pp. 451-481.
♦ 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

23.10. 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.
♦ Arbib M., Gasser B., Barrès V. (2014). Language is handy but is it embodied?. Neuropsychologia, 55, 57–70.

30.10. 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.

06.11. 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
♦ 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)

13.11. 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.

20.11. 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.
♦ Mikolov T. et al. (2013). Efficient estimation of word representations in vector space., Cornell University Library.

27.12. 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

04.12. tba tba
11.12. Group discussion, reflection. tba


  • Activity during the semester (50%). This includes weekly submitting inputs to the moderator and an active participation during discussions.
  • Paper presentation and moderation (30%). You will select a topic for presentation, collect the inputs from other students in advance, organize them (details will be explained) and you will moderate the discussion.
  • Final reflection (20%). You will write a two-page essay, that will include answers to two points: 1. How you understood the main issues we dealt with (trying to include open questions, if any), 2. How the learnt content enriched your existing knowledge.
  • Overall grading (in %): A > 90, B > 80, C > 70, D > 60, E > 50, else Fx.
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