A review of abstract concept learning in embodied agents and robots

Angelo Cangelosi, Francesca Stramandinoli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper reviews computational modelling approaches to the learning of abstract concepts and words in embodied agents such as humanoid robots. This will include a discussion of the learning of abstract words such as ‘use’ and ‘make’ in humanoid robot experiments, and the acquisition of numerical concepts via gesture and finger counting strategies. The current approaches share a strong emphasis on embodied cognition aspects for the grounding of abstract concepts, and a continuum, rather than dichotomy, view of concrete/abstract concepts differences. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Varieties of abstract concepts: development, use and representation in the brain’.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20170131
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1752
Early online date5 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2018


  • Abstract concept learning
  • Cognitive robotics
  • Embodied cognition
  • Numerical concepts
  • Symbol grounding


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