Creativity, Cognition, and Knowledge: An Interaction (Perspectives on Cognitive Science)

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Joint actions are dependent on shared cognition, a human being's recognition that she can share beliefs and intentions with other humans. Ellis, ; Frith, In these ways the input to associative learning is socially gated Kuhl, Language itself also plays a huge role in our enculturation A. According to Logan, before humans acquired verbal language, their brain was a percept processor. Then language made the mind capable of conceptualization and hence able to consider things beyond the here and now. Indeed he separates it from the biosphere, and argues that we live within a symbolosphere, which includes all of the phenomena mediated by symbols, and hence includes all abstract human thought and symbolic communication Schumann, The works cited in this section were all written in the s or later, largely in reaction to cognitivism.

However, these ideas have a long history within the philosophy of mind and language Joseph, The integrational approach holds that every episode of communication, however trivial, necessarily involves creative activity by the participants, including their own interpretation of the situation in which it occurs. The human mind extends well beyond the ancient bounds of skull and skin. These are essentials of a theory of cognition.

These are essentials of a theory of language cognition. So they are essentials of theories of SLA and of multilingualism Atkinson, This, too, was the spirit of the Douglas Fir Group, which celebrates languages as emergent, social, integrated phenomena. Language cognition is shared across naturally occurring culturally constituted communicative activities. Language and usage are like the shoreline and the sea N. Usage affects learning and it affects languages too.

So, our understanding of language learning requires the detailed investigation of usage, its content, its participants, and its contexts—the micro level of human social action, interaction, and conversation; the meso level of sociocultural and educational institutions and communities; and the macro level of ideological structures.

In these ways, language pervades 4E cognition. These ideas are the antithesis of bounded approaches, which assume that the essence of language can be localized, for example, in genes, or brain areas, or language acquisition devices, in separable linguistic structural divisions such as lexis vs. Instead, they fit naturally within emergentist approaches N. Ellis, ; N. Ellis, , p. Language has a fundamentally social function. Recent research in the cognitive sciences has demonstrated that patterns of use strongly affect how language is acquired, is used, and changes.

These processes are not independent from one another but are facets of the same complex adaptive system CAS. Language as a CAS involves the following key features: The system consists of multiple agents the speakers in the speech community interacting with one another. A speaker's behavior is the consequence of competing factors ranging from perceptual constraints to social motivations. The structures of language emerge from interrelated patterns of experience, social interaction, and cognitive mechanisms.

The CAS approach reveals commonalities in many areas of language research, including first and second language acquisition, historical linguistics, psycholinguistics, language evolution and computational modeling. Language learning involves the acquisition of constructions that map linguistic form and function. The system is rational in that it optimally reflects prior first language L1 usage. The L1 tunes the ways in which learners attend to language. Ellis, b. We see the traces laid down by the processing of each input as contributing to the composite, superimposed memory representation.

Each time a stimulus is processed, it gives rise to a slightly different memory trace—either because the item itself is different or because it occurs in a different context that conditions its representation—the traces are not kept separate. Each trace contributes to the composite, but the characteristics of particular experiences tend nevertheless to be preserved, at least until they are overridden by canceling characteristics of other traces. Also, the traces of one stimulus pattern can coexist with the traces of other stimuli, within the same composite memory trace.

Cognitive Science

Statistical learning, machine learning, and deep networks are now widespread across computational learning theory in artificial intelligence, computer science, and cognitive science. Cognitive psychology recognized that these processes of human cognition take place automatically and unconsciously. There is much research demonstrating implicit learning Reber, and implicit memory Schacter, Following Nisbett and Wilson , there has been widespread recognition of the overwhelming influences of implicit cognition. Likewise in SLA and applied linguistics, there is widespread recognition of the influence of frequency of experience upon learning and representation N.

Ellis, , of connectionist and statistical learning mechanisms N.

Ellis, ; Rebuschat, In connectionist models, remembering is an inferential process, constructive as much as reproductive. Remembering is the temporary reactivation of a particular pattern or vector across the units of a network. This is successful, or not, dependent on the conspiring influences of the current input and the history of the network, as consolidated in the connection weights between units. The everyday phenomenon is that a small part of a memory can remind a person of the entire memory. The quality and richness of a representation is a function of the type and token frequencies of the exemplars experienced and of their richness of features and associations.

In , in the defining text of the Principles of Psychology , James considered language representations as follows: Every nameable thing, act, or relation has numerous properties, qualities, or aspects. In our minds the properties of each thing, together with its name, form an associated group. This is a remarkable description of the essence of connectionist learning given that it was written 80 years before the advent of computational connectionist models.

It has proven to be essentially correct. On the whole, the memory representations that result from an experience are representative of that experience: If the properties of the experience are rich, imageable, and multimodal, so too is the memory Embodied Cognition —e. If the properties of experience are richly contextualized, so too is the memory Embedded Cognition —e. If the experience is part of a cultural script, if it plays out in interaction with others, so these are part of the memory too Extended Mind —e.

Psychologically rich experience leads to richer representation and better explicit recall.

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The major force of learning is usage experience—engaged, motivated, purposeful, authentic, rich, enacted usage. Whatever else life might be, the only evidence we have of it, the only direct data to which we have access, is the succession of events in consciousness. The quality of these experiences determines whether and to what extent life was worth living. Broadly, we expect that the quality of the flow likewise determines the quality of language representations. More experience leads to stronger representation. Language is like other expertise in that it requires considerable practice—the rule of thumb is that accomplishing expertise demands 10, hours on task.

Ellis, Recognition is easier than recall. These are problems of retrieval. What is needed for successful access is to be reminded by an appropriate retrieval cue. Specifically, the principle states that memory is improved when information available at encoding is also available at retrieval, that is, when the mental context at recall matches that at encoding. The relevant factors include the environmental context and the mental context including perceptual factors, emotional factors, scripts, plans, goals, and understandings.

Lightbown applies transfer appropriate processing as a model for classroom second language acquisition.

An Interaction

Learning and remembering are always situated. Their contexts extend beyond the here and now, streaming backwards in time through our personal and cultural histories: But our assessment of the role of situations in driving and shaping memory need not be restricted to the role of contextual features which happen to be outside the skin: that might be a relatively superficial characteristic. In even the most abstruse and detached activities of autobiographical remembering, our memory processes still lean and operate on the internal wing of the vast extended system of cultural and personal habits, hints, and patterns through which the inner representational regime has been sculpted and disciplined Clark, , p.

For, again, in our unusual case the biological brain is itself incomplete and always already permeated by structures and history which take it out of itself. Sutton, , pp. The aggregation of changes and adjustments that are made to this inheritance on each individual occasion of use results in a constant erosion and replacement of the sediment of usage that is called grammar. The same applies across all of the systems of language. Learning a language involves the learning of constructions.

These are the form—function mappings that are conventionalized as ways to express meanings in a speech community. As the latter examples illustrate, not all constructions carry meaning in the traditional sense; many constructions rather serve a more functional purpose. Language learning involves learning the associations within and between constructions. Ellis, c , These various psycholinguistic factors conspire in the acquisition and use of any linguistic construction.

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Cognitive Science

Taking the social turn does not do away with linguistic structure. Instead it poses a set of questions relating to how language structure is learned from situated experience. Contra Hall , this issue , I see nothing conceptually confusing in the notion of construction grammar, and the enterprise of cognitive linguistics is fully in the transdisciplinary spirit of DFG. The scientific study of language has long recognized that language has observable, reliable, and productive structure at various levels phonology, morphology, syntax, phraseology, pragmatic, stylistic, etc.

We must embrace the richness and sophistication of linguistic description, while at the same time recognizing the paucity of linguistic theories of learning. All of these approaches can be brought to bear in researching how our history of usage affects language acquisition, knowledge, and processing. For example, N. Our analyses show that these constructions are a Zipfian in their verb type—token constituency in usage, b selective in their verb form occupancy, and c coherent in their semantics, with a network structure involving prototypical nodes of high betweenness centrality.

Psychological theory relating to the statistical learning of categories suggests that these are factors which promote learning.


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A central concern is how latent patterns of usage promote robust acquisition. How come you learned language from your people, I learned language from my people, our people never met, yet we can share meanings? These basic concepts include spatial orientations such as up, down, front, and back. Humans can understand what these concepts mean because they can directly experience them from their own bodies. For example, because human movement revolves around standing erect and moving the body in an up-down motion, humans innately have these concepts of up and down.

Lakoff and Johnson contend this is similar with other spatial orientations such as front and back too. As mentioned earlier, these basic stocks of spatial concepts are the basis in which other concepts are constructed. Happy and sad for instance are seen now as being up or down respectively. When someone says they are feeling down, what they are really saying is that they feel sad for example. Thus the point here is that true understanding of these concepts is contingent on whether one can have an understanding of the human body.

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So the argument goes that if one lacked a human body, they could not possibly know what up or down could mean, or how it could relate to emotional states. What could UP possibly mean to such a being? While this does not mean that such beings would be incapable of expressing emotions in other words, it does mean that they would express emotions differently from humans. Human concepts of happiness and sadness would be different because human would have different bodies. So then an organism's body directly affects how it can think, because it uses metaphors related to its body as the basis of concepts.


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