Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Authors' Response
Commentary on Arthur M. Glenberg (1997). What memory is for. BBS 20(1):1–19.

Embodied meaning and negative priming

Arthur M. Glenberg a1, David A. Robertson a2, Michael P. Kaschak a1 and Alan J. Malter a3
a1 Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706
a2 School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0170
a3 Department of Marketing, Eller College of Business and Public Administration, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0108


Standard models of cognition are built from abstract, amodal, arbitrary symbols, and the meanings of those symbols are given solely by their interrelations. The target article (Glenberg 1997t) argues that these models must be inadequate because meaning cannot arise from relations among abstract symbols. For cognitive representations to be meaningful they must, at the least, be grounded; but abstract symbols are difficult, if not impossible, to ground. As an alternative, the target article developed a framework in which representations are grounded in perception and action, and hence are embodied. Recent work (Glenberg & Robertson 1999; 2000; Glenberg & Kaschak 2002; Kaschak & Glenberg 2000) extends this framework to language.