Sensorimotor Foundations of Higher Cognition

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Oxford University Press, 2008 - Psychology - 659 pages
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The lastest volume in this prestigious series is dedicated to exploring how much of higher cognitive function can be explained by reduction to simpler sensorimotor processes. It uses a series of specific cognitive domains to examine the sensorimotor bases of human cognition.
The first section deals with the common neural processes for primary and 'cognitive' processes. It examines the key neural systems and computational architectures at the interface between cognition, sensation and action.
The second section deals with specific themes in abstract cognition: the origins of action, and the conceptual aspects of sensory, particularly somatosensory processing. It looks at how mental and neural processes of abstraction are vital to the cognitive-sensorimotor interface. It also covers topics such as tool-use, bodily awareness and executive organisation of action patterns, and probes the extent to which principles of sensorimotor information-processing extend to further hierarchical representations.
The next section deals with the representation of the self and others. The questions of self-consciousness and of attribution to other minds have a fundamental place, and a long history in psychology. At first sight, few aspects of cognition could seem more abstract, more refined than these. However, recent research suggests that sensorimotor systems are good 'social levellers': your sensory and motor apparatus is much like mine. Can people vicariously experience the sensory and motor events of other individuals? What aspects of social representation are explained by sensorimotor sharing, and what are not? The chapters in this section offer strongly contrasting perspectives.
The final section deals with upper limits of cognition: the most abstract and conceptual levels of thought, including action syntax, language, and consciousness. These chapters investigate which aspects, if any, of such concepts as time, space, identity and number may be linked to representations of basic sensory and motor events.
Taken as a whole, the chapters in the book provide a compelling overview and re-examination of the sensorimotor foundations of human cognition.

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About the author (2008)

Yves Rossetti - Master in Neuroscience in 1989, MD in 1990, Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 1993. CNRS researcher: 1995-2004. Professor of physiology at Lyon medical school (Lyon Claude Bernard University) since 2004. Director of the research unit Espace et Action, INSERM U864 - University Claude Bernard - Hospices Civils de Lyon.

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