Symbol Grounding and Meaning

A Comparison of High-Dimensional and Embodied Theories of Meaning

Arthur Glenberg, David A. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

356 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Latent Semantic Analysis (Landauer & Dumais, 1997) and Hyperspace Analogue to Language (Burgess & Lund, 1997) model meaning as the relations among abstract symbols that are arbitrarily related to what they signify. These symbols are ungrounded in that they are not tied to perceptual experience or action. Because the symbols are ungrounded, they cannot, in principle, capture the meaning of novel situations. In contrast, participants in three experiments found it trivially easy to discriminate between descriptions of sensible novel situations (e.g., using a newspaper to protect one's face from the wind) and nonsense novel situations (e.g., using a matchbook to protect one's face from the wind). These results support the Indexical Hypothesis that the meaning of a sentence is constructed by (a) indexing words and phrases to real objects or perceptual, analog symbols; (b) deriving affordances from the objects and symbols; and (c) meshing the affordances under the guidance of syntax.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-401
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2000
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

symbol
Newspapers
Semantics
Language
indexing
syntax
newspaper
semantics
Theory of Meaning
Symbol Grounding
Symbol
experiment
language
experience
Affordances

Keywords

  • Meaning; language; embodiment; computational models; Latent Semantic Analysis; Hyperspace Analogue to Language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Symbol Grounding and Meaning : A Comparison of High-Dimensional and Embodied Theories of Meaning. / Glenberg, Arthur; Robertson, David A.

In: Journal of Memory and Language, Vol. 43, No. 3, 10.2000, p. 379-401.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{6ebe8833b1074741a63ef8e491b8049d,
title = "Symbol Grounding and Meaning: A Comparison of High-Dimensional and Embodied Theories of Meaning",
abstract = "Latent Semantic Analysis (Landauer & Dumais, 1997) and Hyperspace Analogue to Language (Burgess & Lund, 1997) model meaning as the relations among abstract symbols that are arbitrarily related to what they signify. These symbols are ungrounded in that they are not tied to perceptual experience or action. Because the symbols are ungrounded, they cannot, in principle, capture the meaning of novel situations. In contrast, participants in three experiments found it trivially easy to discriminate between descriptions of sensible novel situations (e.g., using a newspaper to protect one's face from the wind) and nonsense novel situations (e.g., using a matchbook to protect one's face from the wind). These results support the Indexical Hypothesis that the meaning of a sentence is constructed by (a) indexing words and phrases to real objects or perceptual, analog symbols; (b) deriving affordances from the objects and symbols; and (c) meshing the affordances under the guidance of syntax.",
keywords = "Meaning; language; embodiment; computational models; Latent Semantic Analysis; Hyperspace Analogue to Language",
author = "Arthur Glenberg and Robertson, {David A.}",
year = "2000",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1006/jmla.2000.2714",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "43",
pages = "379--401",
journal = "Revista Espanola de Cirugia Ortopedica y Traumatologia",
issn = "1888-4415",
publisher = "Ediciones Doyma, S.L.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Symbol Grounding and Meaning

T2 - A Comparison of High-Dimensional and Embodied Theories of Meaning

AU - Glenberg, Arthur

AU - Robertson, David A.

PY - 2000/10

Y1 - 2000/10

N2 - Latent Semantic Analysis (Landauer & Dumais, 1997) and Hyperspace Analogue to Language (Burgess & Lund, 1997) model meaning as the relations among abstract symbols that are arbitrarily related to what they signify. These symbols are ungrounded in that they are not tied to perceptual experience or action. Because the symbols are ungrounded, they cannot, in principle, capture the meaning of novel situations. In contrast, participants in three experiments found it trivially easy to discriminate between descriptions of sensible novel situations (e.g., using a newspaper to protect one's face from the wind) and nonsense novel situations (e.g., using a matchbook to protect one's face from the wind). These results support the Indexical Hypothesis that the meaning of a sentence is constructed by (a) indexing words and phrases to real objects or perceptual, analog symbols; (b) deriving affordances from the objects and symbols; and (c) meshing the affordances under the guidance of syntax.

AB - Latent Semantic Analysis (Landauer & Dumais, 1997) and Hyperspace Analogue to Language (Burgess & Lund, 1997) model meaning as the relations among abstract symbols that are arbitrarily related to what they signify. These symbols are ungrounded in that they are not tied to perceptual experience or action. Because the symbols are ungrounded, they cannot, in principle, capture the meaning of novel situations. In contrast, participants in three experiments found it trivially easy to discriminate between descriptions of sensible novel situations (e.g., using a newspaper to protect one's face from the wind) and nonsense novel situations (e.g., using a matchbook to protect one's face from the wind). These results support the Indexical Hypothesis that the meaning of a sentence is constructed by (a) indexing words and phrases to real objects or perceptual, analog symbols; (b) deriving affordances from the objects and symbols; and (c) meshing the affordances under the guidance of syntax.

KW - Meaning; language; embodiment; computational models; Latent Semantic Analysis; Hyperspace Analogue to Language

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0000296953&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0000296953&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1006/jmla.2000.2714

DO - 10.1006/jmla.2000.2714

M3 - Article

VL - 43

SP - 379

EP - 401

JO - Revista Espanola de Cirugia Ortopedica y Traumatologia

JF - Revista Espanola de Cirugia Ortopedica y Traumatologia

SN - 1888-4415

IS - 3

ER -