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LINGUIST List 22.2967

Wed Jul 20 2011

Calls: Cognitive Science, Neurolinguistics, Psycholinguistics/Germany

Editor for this issue: Alison Zaharee <alisonlinguistlist.org>


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        1.     Liane Stroebel , Sensory-Motor Concepts in Language and Cognition

Message 1: Sensory-Motor Concepts in Language and Cognition
Date: 20-Jul-2011
From: Liane Stroebel <stroebelphil.uni-duesseldorf.de>
Subject: Sensory-Motor Concepts in Language and Cognition
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Full Title: Sensory-Motor Concepts in Language and Cognition
Short Title: SMCLC

Date: 01-Dec-2011 - 03-Dec-2011
Location: Duesseldorf, Germany
Contact Person: Liane Stroebel
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site: http://www.sfb991.uni-duesseldorf.de/smclc11/

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science; Neurolinguistics; Psycholinguistics

Call Deadline: 15-Aug-2011

Meeting Description:

The conference ‘Sensory-Motor Concepts in Language and Cognition’ will take place on 1-3 December 2011 at the University of Duesseldorf, Germany. The conference is intended as an interdisciplinary platform for discussing different perspectives of grounded cognition and embodiment theories.

The conference focuses on the challenges and boundaries of an interdisciplinary study. The goal is to discuss strategies and to propose ways to bridge the gulf between theoretical operating disciplines such as linguistics and more experimentally orientated disciplines such as cognitive neuroscience. The following questions dealing with the representation and computation of language in the minds and brains of speakers will be raised: How do we perceive the world? In which way are the single entities of our perception stored? What role do sensory-motor concepts play in our understanding of the world and for the linguistic encoding?

Concepts are the elementary units of reason and linguistic meaning. They are conventional and relatively stable (Gallese and Lakoff 2005). Recent theories in cognitive science propose that many concepts are grounded in sensory-motor processes (Barsalou 2008, Gibbs 2005, Pezzulo et al. 2011, Wilson 2002). The conference will explore the thesis of grounded cognition from the perspectives of linguistics, cognitive neuroscience and philosophy of the mind, and critically discuss empirical, experimental and clinical results and linguistic evidence as well as conceptual arguments.

The linguistic perspective focuses on the fact that language and body are closely interrelated. Embodiment not only plays a role for the lexicon (e.g. metaphors, Steen et al. 2010), but also for the grammar of a language. For example, in many languages auxiliaries and analytic verbal constructions can be traced back to action concepts (Ströbel 2010, 2011) involving body parts such as the hand/arm (e.g. make, do, give, take, etc) or the foot/leg (e.g. go, come, etc.).

Recent neurological studies using neuroimaging techniques (e.g. fMRI, EEG) and also patient studies (Grossman et al., 2008) have provided several pieces of the puzzle concerning auditory language perception, reading and language production and deliver valuable insights into this highly developed cognitive function. Furthermore, these studies have shown that premotor and motor areas are activated somatotopically when subjects read verbs referring to hand or foot actions (Boulenger, Hauk and Pulvermüller 2009; Hauk, Johnsrude and Pulvermüller 2004; Hauk and Pulvermüller 2004). Several parts of the brain subserve different aspects of language comprehension and production and only their coordinated interplay warrants effective functioning. Another focus of interest is activation of brain motor areas in abstract use of prefixations of concrete action, such as German greifen ‘grasp’ vs. begreifen ‘comprehend’ and in abstract use of prefixations of abstract verbs, such as e. g. German denken ‘think’ vs. bedenken ‘consider’. While contrasting the concrete and abstract simple verbs resulted in greater activation of primary motor and somatosensory cortices in concrete as compared with abstract verbs no such difference emerged for the prefixation (Rüschemeyer et al. 2007).

Similarly, in philosophy, theories of embodied or grounded cognition (Barsalou 2008, Glenberg and Kaschak 2002) have been acknowledged and the importance of sensory-motor processing concepts is now widely recognized. Traditional views of the architecture of the mind, such as computational views and the theory of a language of thought as a general format of mental representation, will be reconsidered in the light of empirical findings.

2nd Call for Papers:

The conference will focus on transparent and opaque source domains, both of which are grounded in sensory-motor concepts and highlight the interdisciplinary character of this particular phenomenon. The linguistic theoretical foundations will be enriched with neurological analysis and philosophical empirical findings. The aim of the interdisciplinary approach is to achieve a better understanding of the way language is conceptualized, structured and cognitively stored.

We invite the submission of abstracts on all kinds of empirical and theoretical approaches which involve sensory-motor concepts and which deal with the following questions or topics:

- Advantages and limits of sensory-motor source domains
- Language change based on sensory-motor concepts
- Action versus object processing
- Temporal aspects of language processing
- Clinical evidence for allocation of action or object attributes in the brain
- The relation between perception, action and sensory-motor concepts
- Is thinking based on linguistic abilities or is thinking grounded in perception and action rather than language?
- Can sensory-motor concepts be transduced into more abstract concepts, or is abstract thinking based on very different grounds than perception and action?
- Are theories of grounded cognition modern versions of concept empiricism?
- Can rationalistic/transcendental theories be formulated coherently while appreciating the role sensory motor concepts have in science?

Submission Guidelines:

Abstracts are not to exceed two A4 pages in length, including examples and references, with at least 2 cm margins on all sides and 12 pt font size. The abstract should not identify the author(s).

It is intended that the conference proceedings will be published.

Important Dates:

Abstract submission deadline: 15 August 2011
Notification of acceptance: 15 October 2011
Revised abstracts due: 15 November 2011
Conference date: 1-3 December 2011

Meeting email: smclcphil.uni-duesseldorf.de
Conference Homepage: http://www.sfb991.uni-duesseldorf.de/smclc11/
Submission web pages: https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=smclc11

Organization/Contact Information:

Liane Stroebel, Department of Romance Linguistics,
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, 40225 Düsseldorf
E-mail: stroebelphil.uni-duesseldorf.de




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