Minds and Machines

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 321–338 | Cite as

How Sensorimotor Interactions Enable Sentence Imitation

  • Tzu-Wei Hung


Despite intensive debates regarding action imitation and sentence imitation, few studies have examined their relationship. In this paper, we argue that the mechanism of action imitation is necessary and in some cases sufficient to describe sentence imitation. We first develop a framework for action imitation in which key ideas of Hurley’s shared circuits model are integrated with Wolpert et al.’s motor selection mechanism and its extensions. We then explain how this action-based framework clarifies sentence imitation without a language-specific faculty. Finally, we discuss the empirical support for and philosophical significance of this perspective.


Sensorimotor interactions Action imitation Sentence imitation Word-referent mapping Syntactic abstraction 



This research was sponsored in part by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan under Grant No. 101-2410-H-001-100-MY2.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of European and American StudiesAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan

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