How do words, objects, and events become meaningful to us? Arthur Glenberg and his students are attacking these problems by developing an embodied theory of cognition: Meaning consists of the set of actions one can take in particular situations, and those actions are a function of the physical situation, how one's body works, and one's experiences.
Professor Glenberg's recent work has demonstrated a) how actions in a situation are an essential prerequisite for new learning; b) how language comprehension takes advantage of one's knowledge of how actions can be combined; and c) how linguistic structures coordinate with action-based knowledge to result in language comprehension. He has also begun to investigate application embodiment theories to enhance children's reading comprehension. He and his team have developed EMBRACE, an iPad application designed to help dual language learners read for comprehension in English. He heads the Laboratory for Embodied Cognition in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University.