Language and action: creating sensible combinations of ideas

Arthur M. Glenberg

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780198568971
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:
 Language and action: creating sensible combinations of ideas

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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Could two topics be less related than language and action? Both historical and contemporary philosophers have argued that language is separate from perception and action, that it is a higher faculty, or that it is what separates human from animal. The data, however, present an overwhelming case in favor of an intimate relation between language and action. Much of the data and theory derive from considerations of embodied cognition, and so this article begins with a brief overview of that notion. It then considers the relation between language and action from the perspectives of neuroscience, cognitive development, and behavioural research. The article concludes with a theoretical rationale for the relation: the mechanism of action planning is the mechanism that allows us to sensibly combine meanings across words and sentences.

Keywords: language; action; embodied cognition; neuroscience; cognitive development; behavioural research; meanings; words; sentences

Article.  7160 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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