Mental imagery gives language meaning

WHAT do you think of when you read the phrase "flying pig"? Chances are that a striking image will have fleetingly passed through your mind. Perhaps it's a winged "Pigasus", as imagined by John Steinbeck. Or, if you are a fan of The Simpsons, it might be Homer's precious roast pig launching past Mr Burns's office.

In Louder Than Words, Benjamin Bergen, a cognitive scientist at the University of California, San Diego, builds a strong case that such "embodied simulations" lie at the centre of the brain's processing of language. Every time we hear a word, he argues, it brings to mind sights, sounds, feelings and actions, as if we are experiencing them first-hand. Importantly, what is brought to mind depends on your unique experiences - your flying pig will be very different to mine.
 continue article http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2012/10/mental-imagery-gives-language-meaning.html

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