Anna Maria Borghi


Titolo Pubblicato in Anno
Editorial: Rising ideas in: theoretical and philosophical psychology FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2023
Beyond simple laboratory studies, toward interactive methods: Commentary on the review article: Beyond simple laboratory studies: Developing sophisticated models to study rich behavior PHYSICS OF LIFE REVIEWS 2023
Is the Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire a Valid Measure in Older People? HEALTHCARE 2023
COVID-19 and the Perceived Dangerousness of Everyday Objects: A Behavioural Online Study in Italy and Germany COLLABRA. PSYCHOLOGY 2023
Embodied, Embedded, Enacted Cognition The Sage Handbook of Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience: Cognitive Systems, Development and Applications 2023
Grounded Cognition, Linguistic Relativity, and Abstract Concepts TOPICS IN COGNITIVE SCIENCE 2023
Bodily, emotional, and public sphere at the time of COVID-19. An investigation on concrete and abstract concepts PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH 2022
Infant sleep and development: Concurrent and longitudinal relations during the first 8 months of life INFANT BEHAVIOR & DEVELOPMENT 2022
Abstract words processing induces parasympathetic activation: A thermal imaging study FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2022
Abstractness emerges progressively over the second year of life SCIENTIFIC REPORTS 2022
A Natural Human-Drone Embodied Interface: Empirical Comparison With a Traditional Interface FRONTIERS IN NEUROROBOTICS 2022
Concepts for Which We Need Others More: The Case of Abstract Concepts CURRENT DIRECTIONS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE 2022
Abstract and concrete concepts in conversation SCIENTIFIC REPORTS 2022
Abstract concepts: external influences, internal constraints, and methodological issues PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH 2022
A computational model of inner speech supporting flexible goal-directed behaviour in Autism SCIENTIFIC REPORTS 2022
Abstract Concepts, Social Interaction, and Beliefs FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2022
Implicit effect of abstract/concrete components in the categorization of Chinese words JOURNAL OF COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY 2022
Emotions Modulate Affordances-Related Motor Responses: A Priming Experiment FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2022
Merging affordances and (abstract) concepts Affordances in Everyday Life: a multidisciplinary collection of essays 2022


  • SH4

Interessi di ricerca

I am interested in the relationship between objects, concepts, and language, and in how we react to the actions of others. The general view underlying my research is that cognition is embodied and grounded, in the environment and in bodily states. Cognition emerges from goal-derived interactions between the organisms and the environment. This view stresses the role of action for cognition, and it considers perception, action, and cognition as strictly interrelated. I am also interested in interoception, the sensitivity to our bodily signals. 

1) Objects and affordances: I am interested in affordances, i.e. the idea that objects evoke actions and that we think of objects in terms of the actions we typically perform with them. I work on how affordances are flexibly modulated by the context: by the task, by the presence of other objects, of other people potentially interacting with objects. I am also interested in the affordances of novel objects for children and adults, in affordances of dangerous objects, and in the distinction between more stable and more variable affordances. 

2) Concepts: I am interested in how concepts, the minimal units of our knowledge, tap on sensorimotor and interoceptive experience. I work on how concepts are dynamically updated depending on our goals and interaction with the environment, and how concepts link to each other through conceptual relations (thematic, taxonomic, etc.). I am interested in differences within concept kinds -e.g. artifacts vs. natural objects. I am particularly interested in abstract concepts (see below). 

3) Abstract concepts. I work on how we acquire, use and represent in the brain abstract concepts, like "fantasy" and "think". I am convinced that explaining them represents a big challenge for embodied and grounded views and that this challenge has to be addressed by recognizing the important role language plays for cognition. I believe that because the members of abstract concepts are more heterogeneous and variable than that of concrete concepts, like "table", for their acquisition and use the role of the linguistic and social input is more crucial. Consistently, linguistic networks should be more activated in the brain for abstract than for concrete concepts, and abstract concepts should be more variable across languages than concrete ones. I am also interested in the differences within concept kinds since abstract concepts come in a great variety - from emotional and social concepts to spatio-temporal and numerical concepts, to spiritual and philosophical concepts. I believe that the challenge to account for abstract concepts should be addressed by studying concepts with novel methods, i.e. investigating them during their use in interaction. With various collaborators, we have proposed are currently refining a theory of abstract concepts, the Words As social Tools (WAT). 

4) Language. I am interested in three main aspects:

1) how language is grounded in the sensorimotor and interoceptive system, eliciting a simulation during language comprehension. I study how this simulation is sensitive to properties of the objects (e.g. object size, weight, orientation), of the actions (e.g. whether the action involves the hand, the mouth, the leg, or other body parts), situations, and emotions described through language 

2) how language impacts cognition, changing the way in which we conceive our body (I am convinced that words can expand our perceived bodily borders) and the way we perceive objects and entities in the environment;

3) how different languages impact cognition. I am interested in cross-cultural comparisons. 

5) Actions of others: Automatic imitation and motor resonance.

I am interested in how we respond when we observe actions performed by others, on when we put ourselves in their shows, and on the mechanisms underlying imitative and joint / complementary actions. 



Action recognition
conceptual categories
Abstract reasoning
Healthy ageing
connectedness with nature

Gruppi di ricerca

Gruppi di ricerca - Responsabile

© Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" - Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma