Language and Computation Courses

Foundational Courses

Cognitive and Computational Models of Abstractness

Diego Frassinelli and Sabine Schulte Im Walde

Week 2, August 10-14, 2020


Across disciplines, researchers are eager to gain insight into empirical features of abstract vs. concrete concepts and words. In the first part of this course, we present an overview of the cognitive science literature which reports extensive analyses of how concrete concepts are processed, with however little consensus about the nature of abstract concepts. In the second part of this course, we look into this dichotomy from a computational perspective, where the inclusion of information regarding the concreteness of words has been demonstrated to play a key role across NLP tasks, such as the automatic identification of figurative language. Additionally, we describe and discuss the procedures of collecting human-generated ratings of abstractness and their usage for both communities. Overall, this course thus aims at introducing and discussing cognitive and computational resources and empirical studies in order to understand the role and application of abstractness in large-scale data-driven models.


Connect with us

32nd European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information - ESSLLI 2021
Please send any queries to