#symbodiment: Digital Event June 2016

How are the meanings of words, events and objects represented and organized in the brain? When we think of a dog, what representation are we invoking? Is there such thing as an abstract dogness—the doggiest of all dogs—or do we merely remember one of many stored exemplars of dogs that we have encountered in our lives? And what about more abstract concepts, such as God? Even abstract words like “God” and “Satan” have associated directions that incidentally help people to complete both semantic and spatial tasks. People intuitively look upward after reading “God” and downward after reading “Satan”. Those connections between abstract conceptual knowledge and seemingly unrelated, lower-level perception and cognition have given rise to the notion of embodied cognition. The core idea of embodied cognition is that many aspects of human cognition involve parts of the body other than the brain—we think with our hands and feet in addition to our cortex. #symbodiment, in other words.