Louder Than Words: The New Science of how the Mind Makes Meaning

Front Cover
Basic Books, 2012 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 296 pages
8 Reviews
Whether it's brusque, convincing, fraught with emotion, or dripping with innuendo, language is fundamentally a tool for conveying meaning--a uniquely human magic trick in which you vibrate your vocal cords to make your innermost thoughts pop up in someone else's mind. You can use it to talk about all sorts of things--from your new labradoodle puppy to the expansive gardens at Versailles, from Roger Federer's backhand to things that don't exist at all, like flying pigs. And when you talk, your listener fills in lots of details you didn't mention--the curliness of the dog's fur or the vast statuary on the grounds of the French palace. What's the trick behind this magic? How does meaning work?   In Louder than Words, cognitive scientist Benjamin Bergen draws together a decade's worth of research in psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience to offer a new theory of how our minds make meaning. When we hear words and sentences, Bergen contends, we engage the parts of our brain that we use for perception and action, repurposing these evolutionarily older networks to create simulations in our minds. These embodied simulations, as they're called, are what makes it possible for us to become better baseball players by merely visualizing a well-executed swing; what allows us to remember which cupboard the diapers are in without looking, and what makes it so hard to talk on a cell phone while we're driving on the highway. Meaning is more than just knowing definitions of words, as others have previously argued. In understanding language, our brains engage in a creative process of constructing rich mental worlds in which we see, hear, feel, and act.   Through whimsical examples and ingenious experiments, Bergen leads us on a virtual tour of the new science of embodied cognition. A brilliant account of our human capacity to understand language, Louder than Words will profoundly change how you read, speak, and listen.
  

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Review: Louder Than Words: The New Science of How the Mind Makes Meaning

User Review  - Peter Skillen - Goodreads

Awesome reading. Easy to read writing style on a complex topic. Also the author has a great interview on Brain Science Podcast, Read full review

Review: Louder Than Words: The New Science of How the Mind Makes Meaning

User Review  - Angie - Goodreads

I'd give this a 4+ for ideas but have to dock it for execution. The concept of embodied simulation as a key to meaning is intriguing and plausible, and Bergen's writing style is enjoyable and NOT ... Read full review

Contents

The Polar Bears Nose
3
Keep Your Mind on the Ball
23
Meaning and the Minds
49
Over the
73
More Than Words
93
Early and Often
121
What Do Hockey Players Know?
151
Lost in Translation
175
What is Simulation Good For?
223
The Repurposed Mind
247
EPILOGUE The Crosstalk Hypothesis
261
Notes
269
Bibliography
277
Permissions
289
223
295
Copyright

Meaning in Your Grasp
195

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Benjamin Bergen is an Associate Professor in the Cognitive Science Department at the University of California, San Diego, where he directs the Language and Cognition Lab. Bergen is an active researcher in cognitive linguistics and cognitive science, with over 40 publications and 60 presentations in the two fields. He is regularly invited to lecture in the U.S. and abroad. His work has been featured in The Atlantic, New Scientist, and Science News. Bergen lives in San Diego, California.

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