Get the Latest News Updates

Do we use our hands to think?

Scientists have been attempting to comprehend how people interpret and process words. Experts are already aware that humans distinguish between objects based on how they relate to and interact with their surroundings.

A cup is not an independent object, for instance. With the inclusion of information, it becomes clear that it is a drinking vessel made of a specific material. Then and only then can it be used for good. When building robots, AI researchers must deal with this problem.

They must teach the students about symbol grounding, which is the process by which symbols are translated into concrete objects. How do people accomplish symbol grounding is the question.A study team at Osaka Metropolitan University’s Graduate School of Sustainable System Sciences opted to examine embodied cognition under the direction of Professor Shogo Makioka.

When items take on meaning as a result of their interactions with the body and environment, this is called embodied cognition. The researchers looked at how words that describe things that are handled with the hands affect brain activity. In one situation, they bound the hands, while in another, they freed them.

They used functional near-infrared spectroscopy to detect brain activity (fNIRS). Each participant saw two words, and they had to determine which one was larger by comparing their sizes. Two words were displayed, similar to cup and broom. These two things can both be handled by hand.Another time, two words were displayed to depict immovable items like lampposts and buildings.

The purpose of the study was to examine how the brain processed various item types. The semantic processing centres of the brain—the process by which we encode the meaning of words—were the focus of the fNIRS. Researchers kept track of how quickly people answered. The results demonstrated that when the hands were restricted, there was less left brain activity when manipulating things. Restricting hand motions may impact how we interpret the meanings of items, according to research published in the journal Scientific Reports.