Anna Maria Borghi


Titolo Pubblicato in Anno
Editorial: Embodied cognition over the lifespan. Theoretical issues and implications for applied settings FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2018
Il mondo del machine learning. Implicazioni per l’embodied (e grounded) cognition GIORNALE ITALIANO DI PSICOLOGIA 2018
Embodied Cognition Over the Lifespan: Theoretical Issues and Implications for Applied Settings. FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2018
Varieties of abstract concepts: development, use and representation in the brain PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS - ROYAL SOCIETY. BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 2018
Abstract concepts, language and sociality. From acquisition to inner speech PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS - ROYAL SOCIETY. BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 2018
Clock walking and gender. How circular movements influence arithmetic calculations FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2018
Abstract, emotional and concrete concepts and the activation of mouth-hand effectors PEERJ 2018
Editorial: Beyond embodied cognition: Intentionality, affordance, and environmental adaptation FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2018
Cues of control modulate the ascription of object ownership PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH 2018
The challenge of abstract concepts PSYCHOLOGICAL BULLETIN 2017
Hitting is male, giving is female. Automatic imitation and complementarity during action observation PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH 2017
The Multilevel Modality-Switch Effect.What happens when we see the bees buzzing and hear the diamonds glistening PSYCHONOMIC BULLETIN & REVIEW 2017
Grasping the Agent’s Perspective: A Kinematics Investigation of Linguistic Perspective in Italian and German FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2017
Abstract concepts and aging. An embodied and grounded perspective FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2017
Chained activation of the motor system during language understanding FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2017
Editorial: Bridging the theories of affordances and limb apraxia FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE 2017
Pacifier overuse and conceptual relations of abstract and emotional concepts FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 2017
Institutional mimesis: an experimental study on the grounding of legal concepts REVUS 2017
The particularity of emotional words. A grounded approach RIVISTA INTERNAZIONALE DI FILOSOFIA E PSICOLOGIA 2017
Bridging the Theories of Affordances and Limb Apraxia 2017


  • 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

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