From Head to Toe: Embodiment Through Statistical Linguistic Frequencies


Recent literature in the cognitive sciences has demonstrated that cognition is fundamentally embodied. For instance, various studies have shown that semantic knowledge about the human body correlates with spatial body representations, suggesting that such knowledge is embodied in nature. An alternative explanation for this finding comes from the Symbol Interdependency Hypothesis, which argues that perceptual information is encoded in language. We demonstrated that the findings that can be explained by an embodied cognition account can also be explained through statistical linguistic frequencies. Co-occurrence frequencies of names for common body parts correlated with experimental findings from adults and children. Moreover, the position of the body parts was predicted on the basis of statistical linguistic frequencies. These findings suggest that language encodes embodied information.

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