Grounded Cognition – 2-IKV-236a/19

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.

Course schedule

Type Day Time Room Lecturer
Lecture Monday 09:50 - 11:20 I-9 Igor Farkaš
Presentations Monday 11:40 - 13:10 I-9 students


Date Topic References
Introduction to language and concepts

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

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.

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.
♦ Rizzolatti G. et al. (2019) The Mirror Neuron Mechanism, Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology.

Common coding theory, motor simulation, mental simulation

♦ 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

Language as action

♦ Fischer M.H., Zwaan R.A. (2008) Embodied language: A review of the role of the motor system in language comprehension. The Quarterly Journal of Exp. Psych., 61 (6), 825-850
♦ Arbib M., Gasser B., Barrès V. (2014) Language is handy but is it embodied?. Neuropsychologia, 55, 57–70.

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. (2016) Design features for linguistically-mediated meaning construction: The relative roles of the linguistic and conceptual systems in subserving the ideational function of language. Frontiers in Psychology.

no class autumn break / holiday
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.
♦ Bruni E., Tran N.K., Baroni M. (2014) Multimodal distributional semantics. Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, 49, 1-47

Symbol grounding problem

♦ 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.
♦ Coradeschi S., Loutfi A., Wrede B. (2013) A short review of symbol grounding in robotic and intelligent systems. Künstliche Intelligenz, 27:129–136

Unification attempts

♦ Louwerse M. (2010) Symbol interdependency in symbolic and embodied cognition. Topics in Cognitive Science, 1-30
♦ Dove G. (2011) On the need for embodied and dis-embodied cognition. Frontiers in Psychology, 1:242

Role(s) of language in cognition and thought

♦ 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
♦ Hendricks R. K., Boroditsky L. (2017). New Space–Time Metaphors Foster New Nonlinguistic Representations. Topics in Cognitive Science.

Grounding abstract concepts. Summary.

♦Borghi A.M., Barca L., Binkofski F., Tummolini L. (2018) Varieties of abstract concepts: development, use and representation in the brain. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 373: 20170121
♦ Pulvermüller F. (2018) The case of CAUSE: neurobiological mechanisms for grounding an abstract concept. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 373: 20170129

Group presentations Prepare a 20-minute presentation of the chosen topic.


  • Weekly activity during the semester (40%). This includes weekly submitting inputs to the moderator and active participation during discussions.
  • Paper presentation and discussion moderation (30%). You will select a topic for presentation (one of the papers in the syllabus), collect by email the inputs (one question or a discussion point) from other students in advance (until Saturday, 20:00). The inputs should be sent to the moderator, with the subject "author" (use the first author's surname). The moderator organizes the questions for discussion that he/she will moderate.
  • Final group presentation (30%). You will be organized in small groups (3-4 students) and will prepare a final presentation on the topic of your choice relevant for the course.
  • Overall grading (in %): A > 90, B > 80, C > 70, D > 60, E > 50, else Fx.


You are expected to regularly attend the class, physically or online. In case of absence, inform the teacher about the reason. Max. two absences are ok.

Revision as of 20:00, 19 September 2021 by Farkas (Talk | contribs) (Syllabus)