A lifespan perspective on semantic processing of concrete concepts: Does a sensory/motor model have the potential to bridge the gap?

Sharon M. Antonucci, Mary Alt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Research regarding semantic knowledge of objects is often conducted independently in children and adults. Review of these bodies of evidence suggests that the two literatures are often complementary. It seems critical to determine what we can learn from a developmental perspective, toward the common goal of understanding semantic organization. Here we focus on the proposal that semantic knowledge about concrete concepts may be built on the foundation of sensory/motor processes. In particular, we focus on a moderate formulation of this viewpoint, the sensory/motor model of semantic representations of objects (e.g., Gainotti 2007; Martin 2007), which has been examined utilizing behavioral, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological evidence. Taken together, behavioral and neuroimaging studies with infants, older children, and adults have suggested that patterns laid down in early childhood remain salient throughout the lifespan and may also predict patterns of deficit that emerge following brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-572
Number of pages22
JournalCognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011



  • Semantic conceptual knowledge
  • Sensory/motor development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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