Seminar Series

Embodied semantics: Conceptual representations in the sensory and motor systems

Classical models assume that conceptual knowledge is represented in an amodal format distinct from the sensory and motor systems. More recent models, however, propose that concepts are embodied in the sense that interactions with objects form their conceptual memory traces in distributed sensory or action-related modality-specific brain areas. In neurophysiological experiments, we show that conceptual tasks activate brain areas involved in the processing of visual, acoustic and action-related conceptual information. Activity emerges early within the first 200 ms of stimulus processing rendering imagery unlikely. Our results therefore strengthen the notion of modality-specific conceptual representations grounded in perception and action.