Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Barsalou: Perpetual symbol systems

Perceptual symbol systems and emotion

Louis C. Charland a1
a1 Department of Philosophy and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 3K7


In his target article, Barsalou cites current work on emotion theory but does not explore its relevance for this project. The connection is worth pursuing, since there is a plausible case to be made that emotions form a distinct symbolic information processing system of their own. On some views, that system is argued to be perceptual: a direct connection with Barsalou's perceptual symbol systems theory. Also relevant is the hypothesis that there may be different modular subsystems within emotion and the perennial tension between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion.