It’s the Body, Stupid: Concept Learning According to Cognitive Science

TitleIt’s the Body, Stupid: Concept Learning According to Cognitive Science
Publication TypeTechnical Report
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBergen, B. K., & Feldman J.
Other Numbers1977

The classical question "How do people learn new concepts?" is answered by Unified Cognitive Science. Converging evidence from several disciplines suggests that:1) Our core concepts are based on the neural embodiment of all our sensory, motor, planning, emotional, social, etc. abilities, most of which we share with other primates.2) We can only be aware of or talk about a limited range of parameters over these abilities and human languages are based on these parameterizations, plus composition. Composition can give rise to additional abilities and parameters.3) The meanings of all new words and concepts are formed by compositions of previously known concepts. We use a wide range of compositional operations including conjunction, causal links, abstraction, analogy, metaphor, etc.4) Domain relations, particularly conceptual metaphors, are the central compositional operations that allow us to learn technical and other abstract concepts.5) We understand language by mapping it to our accumulated experience and imagining (simulating) the consequences.

Bibliographic Notes

ICSI Technical Report TR-06-002

Abbreviated Authors

B. Bergen and J. Feldman

ICSI Research Group


ICSI Publication Type

Technical Report