Reflecting on the debate

Manuel De Vega, Arthur C. Graesser, Arthur Glenberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter presents the main positive argument in favour of a symbolic framework. It discusses experimental evidence that supports the embodiment approach, with special attention to the action-sentence compatibility effect (ACE) experiments. It focuses on abstract meaning and addresses the problem of reference, which is at the heart of the grounding problem, and how symbolic and embodied frameworks can account for referential processing. It discusses the neuroscience data that show how perceptual and motor areas in the brain are recruited in the processing of meaning, the role of the traditional linguistic areas, and other higher-order processing regions of the brain. It explores how meaning could be reduced to computations and how fields of artificial intelligence and robotics might contribute to clarifying some issues in the current debate. It focuses on how the embodiment and symbolic frameworks can be incorporated into theories of complex learning and education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSymbols and Embodiment
Subtitle of host publicationDebates on Meaning and Cognition
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191696060
ISBN (Print)9780199217274
StatePublished - Mar 22 2012


  • Action-sentence compatibility effect
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Brain
  • Embodied frameworks
  • Embodiment approach
  • Grounding problem
  • Meaning
  • Reference
  • Robotics
  • Symbolic framework

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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