Chapter

Language Is Spatial, Not Special: On the Demise of the Symbolic Approximation Hypothesis

Michael J. Spivey, Daniel C. Richardson and Carlos A. Zednik

in The Spatial Foundations of Language and Cognition

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199553242
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191720444 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553242.003.0002

Series: Explorations in Language and Space

 Language Is Spatial, Not Special: On the Demise of the Symbolic Approximation Hypothesis

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Cognitive science has made as much progress as possible with theories of discrete amodal symbolic computation that too coarsely approximate the neural processes underlying cognition. We describe a collection of studies indicating that internal cognitive processes are often constructed of analog spatial formats of representation, not unlike the topographic maps that populate so much of mammalian cortex. These findings point to a view of language in which, far from being a specialized module performing computations on discrete logical symbols, linguistic ability is an emergent property that opportunistically draws from the existing topographic representational formats of perceptual and motor processes.

Keywords: language; space; memory; eye movements; attention; cognitive linguistics

Chapter.  10844 words. 

Subjects: Semantics

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