Lawrence W. Barsalou

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Lawrence Barsalou
Born (1951-11-03)November 3, 1951
San Diego, California
Fields Cognitive Psychology
Institutions University of Chicago, Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University (Current)
Education B.A. University of California, San Diego (1977)
Thesis Context-independent and context-dependent information in concepts (1982)
Doctoral advisor Gordon Bower

Lawrence W. Barsalou, born on November 3, 1951 in San Diego (California/USA), is a psychologist and a cognitive scientist. He received a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego in 1977, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University in 1981. His doctoral advisor was Gordon Bower. Since then, Barsalou has held faculty positions at Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Chicago.

His work addresses the nature of human knowledge, and its roles in perception, memory, language, and thought. The current theme of his research is that the human conceptual system is grounded in the brain’s modality-specific systems. Specific topics of interest include whether (and if so, how) modality-specific systems implement symbolic operations and abstract concepts, which is one of the main tasks of current cognitive psychology. Other lines of research address the situated character of knowledge, the dynamic online construction of conceptual representations, the development of ad hoc categories to support goal achievement, the structure of knowledge, and category learning.

Barsalou has endeavored to explain representations in terms of the different modalities of experience, a process termed “grounding” cognition. One of the key processes in Barsalou’s view is multimodal simulation, which, he proposes, constitutes grounded representations.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Barsalou, Lawrence. Cognitive psychology: An overview for cognitive scientists. (1992) Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 978-0898599664.

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