Show Reference: "Grounding conceptual knowledge in modality-specific systems."

Grounding conceptual knowledge in modality-specific systems. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 7, No. 2. (February 2003), pp. 84-91 by Lawrence W. Barsalou, W. Kyle Simmons, Aron K. Barbey, Christine D. Wilson
    abstract = {The human conceptual system contains knowledge that supports all cognitive activities, including perception, memory, language and thought. According to most current theories, states in modality-specific systems for perception, action and emotion do not represent knowledge - rather, redescriptions of these states in amodal representational languages do. Increasingly, however, researchers report that re-enactments of states in modality-specific systems underlie conceptual processing. In behavioral experiments, perceptual and motor variables consistently produce effects in conceptual tasks. In brain imaging experiments, conceptual processing consistently activates modality-specific brain areas. Theoretical research shows how modality-specific re-enactments could produce basic conceptual functions, such as the type-token distinction, categorical inference, productivity, propositions and abstract concepts. Together these empirical results and theoretical analyses implicate modality-specific systems in the representation and use of conceptual knowledge.},
    author = {Barsalou, Lawrence W. and Simmons, W. Kyle and Barbey, Aron K. and Wilson, Christine D.},
    citeulike-article-id = {5390648},
    citeulike-linkout-0 = {},
    citeulike-linkout-1 = {},
    issn = {1879-307X},
    journal = {Trends in Cognitive Sciences},
    keywords = {grounding, language, representations},
    month = feb,
    number = {2},
    pages = {84--91},
    pmid = {12584027},
    posted-at = {2014-09-24 10:36:13},
    priority = {2},
    title = {Grounding conceptual knowledge in modality-specific systems.},
    url = {},
    volume = {7},
    year = {2003}

See the CiteULike entry for more info, PDF links, BibTex etc.

Theories of amodal representations of concepts hold that sensorimotor representations are transduced into representations which are divorced from sensory content (like feature lists, semantic networks, or frames).

According to modal theories of concepts, representations of concepts comprise of sensorimotor representations.

Activating a concept activates (some of) the modal neurons which represent the concept. Barsalou et al. call this re-inactment.