Publication 7981

Van Den Herik J. C. (2018) Attentional actions – An ecological–enactive account of utterances of concrete words. Psychology of Language and Communication 22(1): 90–123. Fulltext at
This paper proposes an ecological-enactive account of utterances of concrete words – words used to indicate observable situations, events, objects, or characteristics. Building on the education of attention model of learning, utterances of concrete words are defined as attentional actions: a repeatable form of behaviour performed by a person to indicate (i.e. point out) a particular aspect of the current situation to someone in order to achieve something. Based on recent empirical evidence on categorical colour perception, attentional actions are proposed to constrain the ongoing phenotypic reorganisation of persons into task-specific devices. The paper ends by situating the proposed account in a wider theoretical perspective on language. This paper serves two purposes: first, it undermines the scope objection against the ecological-enactive approach, and second, it provides a novel explanation for recent empirical evidence with respect to the role of language in categorical colour perception


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