, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 53-69

Grounding Action Representations

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Abstract

In this paper we discuss an approach called grounded action cognition, which aims to provide a theory of the interdependencies between motor control and action-related cognitive processes, like perceiving an action or thinking about an action. The theory contrasts with traditional views in cognitive science in that it motivates an understanding of cognition as embodied, through application of Barsalou’s general idea of grounded cognition. To guide further research towards an appropriate theory of grounded action cognition we distinguish between grounding qua acquisition and grounding qua constitution. On this basis, we distinguish three possible theoretical conceptions of grounded action cognition. In addition to these methodological and conceptual analyses, we draw on recent empirical evidence to motivate our inclination towards a particular theory. According to this theory certain representations are involved in action cognition and action perception that are not modality-specific as usually proposed by advocates of grounded cognition. Further, the evidence is in favor of our more specific theory stating that for some cognitive abilities, some motor abilites are constitutive.