Chapter 8. Embodied concepts
There is a long-standing debate within philosophy and psychology on the question whether concepts are abstract mental entities or based on reactivation of sensory and motor representations. The chapter reviews what concepts are and what they are for. The relation of concepts and semantic memory is pointed out. The classical views on conceptual representations proposing an amodal representation of concepts are contrasted with recent embodiment theories, which assume that concepts are essentially grounded in perception and action. Different sources of evidence from behavioral psychology and neuropsychology foster the view that concepts are represented in the sensory and motor systems. We attempt an integration of embodied and classical views on conceptual representation and discuss embodied processes in related areas of cognitive psychology.