What's on the inside counts : a grounded account of concept acquisition and development

Thill, Serge and Twomey, Katherine Elizabeth (2016) What's on the inside counts : a grounded account of concept acquisition and development. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 402. ISSN 1664-1078

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Understanding the factors which affect the age of acquisition (AoA) of words and concepts is fundamental to understanding cognitive development more broadly. Traditionally, studies of AoA have taken two approaches, either exploring the effect of linguistic variables such as input frequency (e.g., Naigles and Hoff-Ginsberg, 1998) or the semantics of the underlying concept, such as concreteness or imageability (e.g., Bird et al., 2001). Embodied theories of cognition, meanwhile, assume that concepts, even relatively abstract ones, can be grounded in the embodied experience. While the focus of such discussions has been mainly on grounding in external modalities, more recently some have argued for the importance of interoceptive features, or grounding in complex modalities such as social interaction. In this paper, we argue for the integration and extension of these two strands of research. We demonstrate that the psycholinguistic factors traditionally considered to determine AoA are far from sufficient to account for the variability observed in AoA data. Given this gap, we propose groundability as a new conceptual tool that can measure the degree to which concepts are grounded both in external and, critically, internal modalities. We then present a mechanistic theory of conceptual representation that can account for groundability in addition to the existing variables argued to influence concept acquisition in both the developmental and embodied cognition literatures, and discuss its implications for future work in concept and cognitive development.

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Journal Article
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Frontiers in Psychology
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Copyright: © 2016 Thill and Twomey. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? concept groundingembodimentdevelopmental linguisticsage of acquisitionspaspsychology(all) ??
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Deposited On:
07 Mar 2016 16:58
Last Modified:
27 Mar 2024 00:50