Mental simulation and language comprehension
How do comprehenders extract meaning from utterances they hear or read? One idea that has been gaining traction in recent years is the hypothesis that understanding involves the activation of motor and perceptual simulations of described scenes. Experimental work has shown these mental simulations have been shown to involve activation of perceptual and motor areas of the brain, to interact with actual perception and motor control. This course in an introduction to existing work in this area, with an emphasis on what the current evidence does and does not show about the purported role of mental simulation in comprehension.
This course is appropriate for graduate students and advanced undergraduates who have a background in experimental research. Course meetings will be structured around discussions of readings, and each student will conceive, design, implement, and collect pilot data from a research project pertaining to the course topic.