Kevin Holmes

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University of California, Berkeley
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My research investigates how knowledge is structured in the mind, focusing particularly on the contributions of language and perception. The overarching theme of my work is that these two sources of experiential input provide richer scaffolding for the organization of knowledge than is generally appreciated. Across diverse domains including space, color, number, and emotion, I have identified novel, and often surprising, connections among linguistic, perceptual, and conceptual structure. For example, I have shown that categories implicit in the samentic structure of language align with salient conceptual distinctions, and that spatial representations support the mental organization of disparate forms of quantitative information. Such phenomena challenge prevailing assumptions about the language-thought interface and the perceptual foundations of abstract thinking — providing new insight into how language and perception can be windows into the mind. I am interested in exploring the potential applications of my work to the enhancement of learning and instruction.

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