Event Detail

Fri Sep 2, 2016
5101 Tolman Hall, 11 AM–1 PM
Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Gary Lupyan (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
Beyond the mapping metaphor: the role of words in human cognition

A common assumption in psychology and linguistics is that words map onto pre-existing meanings. I will argue that this mapping metaphor is mistaken and that words play a much more central role in creating meaning than is generally acknowledged. I will present a range of empirical evidence for the functions of language beyond communication, focusing on categorization and visual perception. On the presented view, many of the unique aspects of human cognition stem from the power of words to create categories from perceptual representations, allowing language to act as a high-level control system for the mind.