March 26, 2021
In this episode, Wendy speaks with cognitive psychologist Larry Barsalou about his work on grounded cognition, concepts, stress, and habits. Their conversation covers many topics, including:
- a historical look at how psychology has viewed and studied the mind;
- simulation and prediction in the brain;
- what a concept is, and benefits and harms they can bring;
- stereotypes, implicit bias, and how we might change them;
- the “situated action” cycle that drives our behavior;
- understanding habits, and the role of mindfulness in breaking unhealthy habits;
- how humans form self-concepts, and how meditation can help us move beyond them;
- the importance of context (situatedness) in cognition, and how to study it scientifically;
- and how he got interested in contemplative science.
Lawrence Barsalou is Professor of Psychology at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, performing research in the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology. Larry’s research addresses the nature of human conceptual processing and its roles in perception, memory, language, thought, social interaction, and health cognition. A current theme of his research is that the conceptual system is grounded in multimodal simulation, situated conceptualization, and embodiment. Specific topics of current interest include the roles of conceptual processing in emotion, stress, abstract thought, self, appetitive behavior, and contemplative practices. His research also addresses the dynamic online construction of conceptual representations, the development of conceptual systems to support goal achievement, and the structure of knowledge.
Website: Barsalou Lab
- Summary of the Situated Action Cycle (Figure 2 from Challenges and Opportunities for Grounding Cognition).
- Paper: Challenges and Opportunities for Grounding Cognition (Journal of Cognition, 2020)
- Paper: Simulation, situated conceptualization, and prediction (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Lond B Biol Sci, 2009)
- Paper: The Benefits of Simply Observing: Mindful Attention Modulates the Link Between Motivation and Behavior (J Personality and Social Psych, 2015)