Assistant Professor of
Cognitive Science


Yanna Popova, assistant professor in the Department of Cognitive Science, (D.Phil in Language and Literature, University of Oxford) has previously taught at the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham. Her education has been in linguistics, literature, and philosophy and her main areas of research are cognitive linguistics and cognitive poetics. “I strongly believe that cognitive science provides a new way of thinking about the verbal, visual, and musical arts and I’m interested in the multiple ways cognitive science can be used to throw light on questions about the origins, significance, and effect of our cultural heritage. The new interdisciplinarity between the arts and cognitive science is interesting and productive because it is and should be seen as mutually beneficial.”

Popova’s publications reflect her long-standing interest in the relationship between language and perception, including verbal synaesthesia. Other interests comprise verbal and pictorial metaphor; narrative as a fundamental human cognitive ability; and time as an aspect of human embodiment. Cognitive poetics arises from the insights of cognitive linguistics and holds that linguistic knowledge is figurative and embodied, and it is this situated, embodied aspect of cognition that Popova finds most interesting and worth pursuing.

“My main objective in research and teaching is the exploration of how people’s subjective, felt experiences of their bodies in action serve as part of the primary grounding for human cognition, including language and aesthetic response. Cognition is what take place when the body engages the physical and the cultural world and should be studied accordingly.”