Cognitive Semiotics is the study of meaning-making employing and integrating methods and theories developed in the cognitive sciences as well as in the human and social sciences: notably in semiotics, linguistics, psychology, cognitive science, computational modelling, anthropology, and philosophy. This involves conceptual and textual analysis as well as experimental and ethnographic investigations. Cognitive semiotics has many sources. The first one to suggest the integration of the cognitive sciences and semiotics seems to have been Thomas C. Daddesio (1994). The Argentinean researcher Juan Magariños de Morentin has long been using the term "cognitive semiotics" to describe his own Peircean approach to semiotics. This is also the name of a web forum which he directed for many years. Several other prominent semioticians have been known to subscribe to a cognitive approach, such as Irene Mittelberg in gesture studies and Jean-Marie Klinkenberg in pictorial semiotics.
Per Aage Brandt founded a Center for Semiotics in 1995 at Aarhus University and subsequently a Master Education in Cognitive Semiotics, to investigate the connections between semiotics and cognitive science (with a strong focus on cognitive linguistics), and he has had several followers along this line such as Line Brandt (Center for Semiotics at Aarhus University), and Todd Oakley (Case Western Reserve University). The Center for Semiotics is currently constituted by Frederik Stjernfelt, Peer Bundgaard, Mikkel Wallentin, Svend Østergaard, Riccardo Fusaroli and Kristian Tylén. Bundgaard published an anthology in Danish which brings together texts from cognitive science, cognitive linguistics, and semiotics. Stjernfelt has combined the inspiration from Peirce with that from Husserl. Wallentin is conducting neuro-imaging investigations. Tylén and Fusaroli develop behavioral and neuroscientific experimental approaches to sign usage and linguistic conversations.
Since 2009, there is also a Centre for Cognitive Semiotics (CCS) at Lund University (Sweden), which is headed by Göran Sonesson, who has long been working in the direction of cognitive semiotics, integrating semiotic theory with experimental studies, mainly with application to the study of pictures. Sonesson started collaborating with the linguist Jordan Zlatev around 2001 and organized a number of research project together with him, before adopting the label "cognitive semiotics". Other members of the CCS are, notably, Mats Andrén, who has published a number of gesture studies, partially in collaboration with Zlatev, and Sara Lenninger, who is working with Sonesson on the semiotics of pictures. The particular direction taken by cognitive semiotics in Lund consists in experimental studies which are geared to elucidate fundamental semiotic concepts such as sign, index, icon, etc., as well as their precursor notion such as imitation, mimesis, empathy and intersubjectivity. The research at CCS centers on the phylogeny and ontogeny of human semiosis, employing both child and primate studies.
Journal of Cognitive Semiotics
An international journal on cognitive semiotics, (Journal of) Cognitive Semiotics (JCS) – Multidisciplinary Journal on Meaning and Mind, was started in Denmark in 2005. Its inaugural issue, edited by Lars Andreassen, Line Brandt and Jes Vang, was published in 2007 (spring). In the fall of 2007, the first peer-reviewed issue, a theme issue on ‘Consciousness & Semiosis’ (eds. Per Aage Brandt and Jakob Simonsen), was published, with funding from Case Western Reserve University. The editorial board consisted of Line Brandt, Per Aage Brandt, Frank Kjørup, Todd Oakley, Jacob Orquin, Jakob Simonsen and Jes Vang. Since then, many issues have been published, en part by Peter Lang, and in part online, available from the journal web site. From 2014, the journal will be published by Mouton de Gruyter. The present board consists of Peer Bundgaard, Göran Sonesson, Todd Oakley, Merlin Donald, and Bruno Gantolucci.
The journal's website states, "The first of its kind, Cognitive Semiotics is a multidisciplinary journal devoted to high quality research, integrating methods and theories developed in the disciplines of cognitive science with methods and theories developed in semiotics and the humanities, with the ultimate aim of providing new insights into the realm of human signification and its manifestation in cultural practices."
International Association for Cognitive Semiotics
The International Association for Cognitive Semiotics (IACS) will be founded during the conference of the Nordic Association for Semiotics Studies (NASS) at the end of May 2013. The Journal of Cognitive Semiotics will then be the official organ of the IACS.
Cognitive Semiotics of Film
Cognitive Semiotics of Film is a monograph written by Warren S. Buckland. Within the monograph, Warren Buckland argues that the conflict between cognitive film theory and contemporary film theory is unproductive. Cognitive semiotics of film is a neglected branch of film theory that works together with the terms linguistics and semiotics. Cognitive science is also incorporated in a combination with linguistics and semiotics to form what is called cognitive semiotics.