Topics in Cognitive Science

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing

Description

  • Impact factor
    2.88
  • 5-year impact
    2.88
  • Cited half-life
    2.20
  • Immediacy index
    0.45
  • Eigenfactor
    0.00
  • Article influence
    1.18
  • ISSN
    1756-8765
  • OCLC
    320882278
  • Material type
    Series, Periodical
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Blackwell Publishing

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    • 'Blackwell Publishing' is an imprint of 'Wiley'
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Signed utterances are densely packed with pointing signs, reaching a frequency of one in six signs in spontaneous conversations (de Vos, 2012; Johnston, 2013a; Morford & MacFarlane, 2003). These pointing signs attain a wide range of functions and are formally highly diversified. Based on corpus analysis of spontaneous pointing signs in Kata Kolok, a rural signing variety of Bali, this paper argues that the full meaning potentials of pointing signs come about through the integration of a varied set of linguistic and extralinguistic cues. Taking this hybrid nature of pointing phenomena into account, it is argued that pointing signs may become an intrinsic aspect of sign language grammars through two mechanisms: morphemization and syntactic integration. Although not entailed in this research, this approach could implicate that some highly systematized pointing systems of speaking communities may to a degree be grammatical as well.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: When naming certain hand-held, man-made tools, American Sign Language (ASL) signers exhibit either of two iconic strategies: a handling strategy, where the hands show holding or grasping an imagined object in action, or an instrument strategy, where the hands represent the shape or a dimension of the object in a typical action. The same strategies are also observed in the gestures of hearing nonsigners identifying pictures of the same set of tools. In this paper, we compare spontaneously created gestures from hearing nonsigning participants to commonly used lexical signs in ASL. Signers and gesturers were asked to respond to pictures of tools and to video vignettes of actions involving the same tools. Nonsigning gesturers overwhelmingly prefer the handling strategy for both the Picture and Video conditions. Nevertheless, they use more instrument forms when identifying tools in pictures, and more handling forms when identifying actions with tools. We found that ASL signers generally favor the instrument strategy when naming tools, but when describing tools being used by an actor, they are significantly more likely to use more handling forms. The finding that both gesturers and signers are more likely to alternate strategies when the stimuli are pictures or video suggests a common cognitive basis for differentiating objects from actions. Furthermore, the presence of a systematic handling/instrument iconic pattern in a sign language demonstrates that a conventionalized sign language exploits the distinction for grammatical purpose, to distinguish nouns and verbs related to tool use.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 11/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We sketch four applications of Marr's levels-of-analysis methodology to the relations between logic and experimental data in the cognitive neuroscience of language and reasoning. The first part of the paper illustrates the explanatory power of computational level theories based on logic. We show that a Bayesian treatment of the suppression task in reasoning with conditionals is ruled out by EEG data, supporting instead an analysis based on defeasible logic. Further, we describe how results from an EEG study on temporal prepositions can be reanalyzed using formal semantics, addressing a potential confound. The second part of the article demonstrates the predictive power of logical theories drawing on EEG data on processing progressive constructions and on behavioral data on conditional reasoning in people with autism. Logical theories can constrain processing hypotheses all the way down to neurophysiology, and conversely neuroscience data can guide the selection of alternative computational level models of cognition.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: It is difficult to create spoken forms that can be understood on the spot. But the manual modality, in large part because of its iconic potential, allows us to construct forms that are immediately understood, thus requiring essentially no time to develop. This paper contrasts manual forms for actions produced over three time spans-by silent gesturers who are asked to invent gestures on the spot; by homesigners who have created gesture systems over their life spans; and by signers who have learned a conventional sign language from other signers-and finds that properties of the predicate differ across these time spans. Silent gesturers use location to establish co-reference in the way established sign languages do, but they show little evidence of the segmentation sign languages display in motion forms for manner and path, and little evidence of the finger complexity sign languages display in handshapes in predicates representing events. Homesigners, in contrast, not only use location to establish co-reference but also display segmentation in their motion forms for manner and path and finger complexity in their object handshapes, although they have not yet decreased finger complexity to the levels found in sign languages in their handling handshapes. The manual modality thus allows us to watch language as it grows, offering insight into factors that may have shaped and may continue to shape human language.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: There has long been interest in why languages are shaped the way they are, and in the relationship between sign language and gesture. In sign languages, entity classifiers are handshapes that encode how objects move, how they are located relative to one another, and how multiple objects of the same type are distributed in space. Previous studies have shown that hearing adults who are asked to use only manual gestures to describe how objects move in space will use gestures that bear some similarities to classifiers. We investigated how accurately hearing adults, who had been learning British Sign Language (BSL) for 1-3 years, produce and comprehend classifiers in (static) locative and distributive constructions. In a production task, learners of BSL knew that they could use their hands to represent objects, but they had difficulty choosing the same, conventionalized, handshapes as native signers. They were, however, highly accurate at encoding location and orientation information. Learners therefore show the same pattern found in sign-naïve gesturers. In contrast, handshape, orientation, and location were comprehended with equal (high) accuracy, and testing a group of sign-naïve adults showed that they too were able to understand classifiers with higher than chance accuracy. We conclude that adult learners of BSL bring their visuo-spatial knowledge and gestural abilities to the tasks of understanding and producing constructions that contain entity classifiers. We speculate that investigating the time course of adult sign language acquisition might shed light on how gesture became (and, indeed, becomes) conventionalized during the genesis of sign languages.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Gestural viewpoint research suggests that several dimensions determine which perspective a narrator takes, including properties of the event described. Events can evoke gestures from the point of view of a character (CVPT), an observer (OVPT), or both perspectives. CVPT and OVPT gestures have been compared to constructed action (CA) and classifiers (CL) in signed languages. We ask how CA and CL, as represented in ASL productions, compare to previous results for CVPT and OVPT from English-speaking co-speech gesturers. Ten ASL signers described cartoon stimuli from Parrill (2010). Events shown by Parrill to elicit a particular gestural strategy (CVPT, OVPT, both) were coded for signers' instances of CA and CL. CA was divided into three categories: CA-torso, CA-affect, and CA-handling. Signers used CA-handling the most when gesturers used CVPT exclusively. Additionally, signers used CL the most when gesturers used OVPT exclusively and CL the least when gesturers used CVPT exclusively.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Fregoli delusion is the mistaken belief that some person currently present in the deluded person's environment (typically a stranger) is a familiar person in disguise. The stranger is believed to be psychologically identical to this known person (who is not present) even though the deluded person perceives the physical appearance of the stranger as being different from the known person's typical appearance. To gain a deeper understanding of this contradictory error in the normal system for tracking and identifying known persons, we conducted a detailed survey of all the Fregoli cases reported in the literature since the seminal Courbon and Fail (1927) paper. Our preliminary reading of these cases revealed a notable lack of definitional clarity. So, we first formulated a classification scheme of different person misidentification delusions so as to identify those cases that qualified as instances of Fregoli according to the above characterization: the mistaken belief that a known person is present in the environment in a different guise to his or her typical appearance. We identified 38 clear cases of this type and set out to answer a series of questions motivated by current hypotheses about the origin of the Fregoli delusion. We asked whether the patients misidentified particular strangers, made reference to the misidentified known persons using wigs or plastic surgery (or other techniques to disguise their appearance), misidentified many different strangers or only one, showed other symptoms (in particular, other misidentification delusions), and made inferences about the motives of the known persons in disguise. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for current hypotheses concerning the origin of the Fregoli delusion.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In philosophy, “singular thought” refers to our capacity to represent entities as individuals, rather than as possessors of properties. Philosophers who defend singularism argue that perception allows us to mentally latch onto objects and persons directly, without conceptualizing them as being of a certain sort. Singularists assume that singular thought forms a unified psychological kind, regardless of the nature of the individuals represented. Empirical findings on the special psychological role of persons as opposed to inanimates threaten singularism. They raise the possibility that tracking individuals specifically as persons might require conceptualizing them in certain ways, for example, as persons. In this paper, we take such a possibility seriously but ultimately reject it. Instead, we propose to revise a prominent singularist theory, the theory of mental files, in order to accommodate data on the psychological distinctiveness of persons: We advocate the postulation of perceptual person-files. Perceptual tracking via person-files is different from object-tracking but also from descriptive classification under the sortal concept PERSON.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Tracking persons, that is, determining that a person now is or is not a specific earlier person, is extremely common and widespread in our way of life and extremely important. If so, figuring out what we are tracking, what it is to persist as a person over a period of time, is also important. Trying to figure this out will be the main focus of this chapter.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 08/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We propose that there is a powerful human disposition to track the actions and possessions of agents. In two experiments, 3-year-olds and adults viewed sets of objects, learned a new fact about one of the objects in each set (either that it belonged to the participant, or that it possessed a particular label), and were queried about either the taught fact or an unrelated dimension (preference) immediately after a spatiotemporal transformation, and after a delay. Adults uniformly tracked object identity under all conditions, whereas children tracked identity more when taught ownership versus labeling information, and only regarding the taught fact (not the unrelated dimension). These findings suggest that the special attention that children and adults pay to agents readily extends to include inanimate objects. That young children track an object's history, despite their reliance on surface features on many cognitive tasks, suggests that unobservable historical features are foundational in human cognition.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The recent trend in cognitive robotics experiments on language learning, symbol grounding, and related issues necessarily entails a reduction of sensorimotor aspects from those provided by a human body to those that can be realized in machines, limiting robotic models of symbol grounding in this respect. Here, we argue that there is a need for modeling work in this domain to explicitly take into account the richer human embodiment even for concrete concepts that prima facie relate merely to simple actions, and illustrate this using distributional methods from computational linguistics which allow us to investigate grounding of concepts based on their actual usage. We also argue that these techniques have applications in theories and models of grounding, particularly in machine implementations thereof. Similarly, considering the grounding of concepts in human terms may be of benefit to future work in computational linguistics, in particular in going beyond "grounding" concepts in the textual modality alone. Overall, we highlight the overall potential for a mutually beneficial relationship between the two fields.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: This contribution presents a corpus of spatial descriptions and describes the development of a human-driven spatial language robot system for their comprehension. The domain of application is an eldercare setting in which an assistive robot is asked to "fetch" an object for an elderly resident based on a natural language spatial description given by the resident. In Part One, we describe a corpus of naturally occurring descriptions elicited from a group of older adults within a virtual 3D home that simulates the eldercare setting. We contrast descriptions elicited when participants offered descriptions to a human versus robot avatar, and under instructions to tell the addressee how to find the target versus where the target is. We summarize the key features of the spatial descriptions, including their dynamic versus static nature and the perspective adopted by the speaker. In Part Two, we discuss critical cognitive and perceptual processing capabilities necessary for the robot to establish a common ground with the human user and perform the "fetch" task. Based on the collected corpus, we focus here on resolving the perspective ambiguity and recognizing furniture items used as landmarks in the descriptions. Taken together, the work presented here offers the key building blocks of a robust system that takes as input natural spatial language descriptions and produces commands that drive the robot to successfully fetch objects within our eldercare scenario.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 06/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recently, there has been a great deal of interest in the idea that natural language enhances and extends our cognitive capabilities. Supporters of embodied cognition have been particularly interested in the way in which language may provide a solution to the problem of abstract concepts. Toward this end, some have emphasized the way in which language may act as form of cognitive scaffolding and others have emphasized the potential importance of language-based distributional information. This essay defends a version of the cognitive enhancement thesis that integrates and builds on both of these proposals. I argue that the embodied representations associated with language processing serve as a supplementary medium for conceptual processing. The acquisition of a natural language provides a means of extending our cognitive reach by giving us access to an internalized combinatorial symbol system that augments and supports the context-sensitive embodied representational systems that exist independently of language.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 06/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The topic is characterized by a highly interdisciplinary approach to the issue of action and language integration. Such an approach, combining computational models and cognitive robotics experiments with neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and linguistic approaches, can be a powerful means that can help researchers disentangle ambiguous issues, provide better and clearer definitions, and formulate clearer predictions on the links between action and language. In the introduction we briefly describe the papers and discuss the challenges they pose to future research. We identify four important phenomena the papers address and discuss in light of empirical and computational evidence: (a) the role played not only by sensorimotor and emotional information but also of natural language in conceptual representation; (b) the contextual dependency and high flexibility of the interaction between action, concepts, and language; (c) the involvement of the mirror neuron system in action and language processing; (d) the way in which the integration between action and language can be addressed by developmental robotics and Human-Robot Interaction.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 06/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A growing body of evidence in cognitive psychology and neuroscience suggests a deep interconnection between sensory-motor and language systems in the brain. Based on recent neurophysiological findings on the anatomo-functional organization of the fronto-parietal network, we present a computational model showing that language processing may have reused or co-developed organizing principles, functionality, and learning mechanisms typical of premotor circuit. The proposed model combines principles of Hebbian topological self-organization and prediction learning. Trained on sequences of either motor or linguistic units, the network develops independent neuronal chains, formed by dedicated nodes encoding only context-specific stimuli. Moreover, neurons responding to the same stimulus or class of stimuli tend to cluster together to form topologically connected areas similar to those observed in the brain cortex. Simulations support a unitary explanatory framework reconciling neurophysiological motor data with established behavioral evidence on lexical acquisition, access, and recall.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 06/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Over the past 15 years, there have been two increasingly popular approaches to the study of meaning in cognitive science. One, based on theories of embodied cognition, treats meaning as a simulation of perceptual and motor states. An alternative approach treats meaning as a consequence of the statistical distribution of words across spoken and written language. On the surface, these appear to be opposing scientific paradigms. In this review, we aim to show how recent cross-disciplinary developments have done much to reconcile these two approaches. The foundation to these developments has been the recognition that intralinguistic distributional and sensory-motor data are interdependent. We describe recent work in philosophy, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and computational modeling that are all based on or consistent with this conclusion. We conclude by considering some possible directions for future research that arise as a consequence of these developments.
    Topics in Cognitive Science 06/2014;