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ERIC Number: EJ934082
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0028-3932
A Domain-Specific System for Representing Knowledge of Both Man-Made Objects and Human Actions. Evidence from a Case with an Association of Deficits
Vannuscorps, Gilles; Pillon, Agnesa
Neuropsychologia, v49 n9 p2321-2341 Jul 2011
We report the single-case study of a brain-damaged individual, JJG, presenting with a conceptual deficit and whose knowledge of living things, man-made objects, and actions was assessed. The aim was to seek for empirical evidence pertaining to the issue of how conceptual knowledge of objects, both living things and man-made objects, is related to conceptual knowledge of actions at the functional level. We first found that JJG's conceptual knowledge of both man-made objects and actions was similarly impaired while his conceptual knowledge of living things was spared as well as his knowledge of unique entities. We then examined whether this pattern of association of a conceptual deficit for both man-made objects and actions could be accounted for, first, by the "sensory/functional" and, second, the "manipulability" account for category-specific conceptual impairments advocated within the Feature-Based-Organization theory of conceptual knowledge organization, by assessing, first, patient's knowledge of sensory compared to functional features, second, his knowledge of manipulation compared to functional features and, third, his knowledge of manipulable compared to non-manipulable objects and actions. The later assessment also allowed us to evaluate an account for the deficits in terms of failures of simulating the hand movements implied by manipulable objects and manual actions. The findings showed that, contrary to the predictions made by the "sensory/functional", the "manipulability", and the "failure-of-simulating" accounts for category-specific conceptual impairments, the patient's association of deficits for both man-made objects and actions was not associated with a disproportionate impairment of functional compared to sensory knowledge or of manipulation compared to functional knowledge; manipulable items were not more impaired than non-manipulable items either. In the general discussion, we propose to account for the patient's association of deficits by the hypothesis that concepts whose core property is that of being a mean of achieving a goal--like the concepts of man-made objects and of actions--are learned, represented and processed by a common domain-specific conceptual system, which would have evolved to allow human beings to quickly and efficiently design and understand means to achieve goals and purposes. (Contains 3 figures and 11 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A