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Motor Dynamics Of Embodied Cognition

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Abstract

Predominant theories of cognition have previously emphasized the modularity of processing, in which individual isolated modules process information free from the influence of other types of information. However, more recent theories suggest that cognition is much more linked to motor and sensory processes than modular theories suggest. In this dissertation, I outline the history of these two approaches in language processing and review recent evidence in favor of the central role of modality specific information in language comprehension. This review suggests that motor representations and actions can influence language processing in predictable ways. Next, I present new data to address some of the outstanding questions raised by the embodied perspective. Chapter 3 investigates the developmental changes of embodied cue use, presenting new data from sentence-processing in five-year-old children. Chapter 4 investigates the interaction of subtle grammatical information, specifically verbal aspect, with motor information. Taken together, the chapters of this dissertation suggest that, while many questions remain unanswered, the embodied cognition approach contributes to our understanding of language processing.

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2011-01-31

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Embodied cognition; language processing

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Committee Chair

Spivey, Michael James

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Edelman, Shimon
Goldstein, Michael H.
Finlay, Barbara L.

Degree Discipline

Psychology

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Ph. D., Psychology

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document

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dissertation or thesis

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