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Reading Sky and Seeing a Cloud: On the Relevance of Events for Perceptual Simulation

Vigliocco, G; Ostarek, M; (2017) Reading Sky and Seeing a Cloud: On the Relevance of Events for Perceptual Simulation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition , 43 (4) pp. 579-590. 10.1037/xlm0000318. Green open access

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that processing words with an up/down association (e.g., bird, foot) can influence the subsequent identification of visual targets in congruent location (at the top/bottom of the screen). However, as facilitation and interference were found under similar conditions, the nature of the underlying mechanisms remained unclear. We propose that word comprehension relies on the perceptual simulation of a prototypical event involving the entity denoted by a word in order to provide a general account of the different findings. In 3 experiments, participants had to discriminate between 2 target pictures appearing at the top or the bottom of the screen by pressing the left versus right button. Immediately before the targets appeared, they saw an up/down word belonging to the target’s event, an up/down word unrelated to the target, or a spatially neutral control word. Prime words belonging to target event facilitated identification of targets at a stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) of 250 ms (Experiment 1), but only when presented in the vertical location where they are typically seen, indicating that targets were integrated in the simulations activated by the prime words. Moreover, at the same SOA, there was a robust facilitation effect for targets appearing in their typical location regardless of the prime type. However, when words were presented for 100 ms (Experiment 2) or 800 ms (Experiment 3), only a location nonspecific priming effect was found, suggesting that the visual system was not activated. Implications for theories of semantic processing are discussed.

Type: Article
Title: Reading Sky and Seeing a Cloud: On the Relevance of Events for Perceptual Simulation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/xlm0000318
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000318
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Com- mons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any me- dium, provided the original author and source are credited. Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s). Author(s) grant(s) the American Psychological Association the exclusive right to publish the article and identify itself as the original publisher
Keywords: Embodied cognition, language comprehension, language–perception interactions
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1522185
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