D-CIS Publication Database


Type of publication:Article
Entered by:LP
TitleEffects of intentional motor actions on embodied language processing
Bibtex cite ID
Journal Experimental Psychology
Year published 2010
Volume in press
Keywords Embodied Cognition
Embodied theories of language processing suggest that this motor simulation is an automatic and necessary component of meaning representation. If this is the case, then language and action systems should be mutually dependent (i.e., motor activity should selectively modulate processing of words with an action-semantic component). In the current paper we investigate in two experiments whether evidence for mutual dependence can be found by using a motor priming paradigm. Specifically, participants performed either an intentional or passive motor task while processing words denoting manipulable and non-manipulable objects. The performance rates (Experiment 1) and response latencies (Experiment 2) in a lexical-decision task reveal that participants performing an intentional action were positively affected in the processing of words denoting manipulable objects as compared to non-manipulable objects. This was not the case if participants performed a secondary passive motor action (Experiment 1) or did not perform a secondary motor task (Experiment 2). The results go beyond previous research showing that language processes involve motor systems to demonstrate that the execution of motor actions has a selective effect on the semantic processing of words. We suggest that intentional actions activate specific parts of the neural motor system, which are also engaged for lexical-semantic processing of action-related words and discuss the beneficial vs. inhibitory nature of this relationship. The results provide new insights into the embodiment of language and the bi-directionality of effects between language and action processing.
Rueschemeyer, Shirley-Ann
Lindemann, Oliver
van Rooij, Daan
van Dam, Wessel
Bekkering, Harold
Total mark: 5