Title

Kicking calculators: Contribution of embodied representations to sentence comprehension

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Memory and Language

Volume

59

Issue

3

Publisher

Elsevier

Publication Date

7-14-2008

First Page

256

Last Page

265

DOI

10.1016/j.jml.2008.05.003

Abstract

Evocation of motor representations during sentence comprehension was examined by training subjects to make a hand action in response to a visual cue while listening to a sentence. Sentences referred to manipulable objects that were either related or unrelated to the cued action. Related actions pertained either to the function of the object or to its volumetric properties (e.g., shape). The results demonstrate priming of hand actions even though the sentences referred to non-manual interactions with manipulable objects. When sentences described an attentional interaction (looking at the calculator), only functional actions were primed. Sentences describing a non-manual physical interaction (kicking the calculator) primed volumetric as well as functional actions. We describe how seemingly irrelevant motor representations can play a role in constructing sentence meaning.

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