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We report a new phenomenon associated with language comprehension: the action-sentence compatibility effect (ACE). Participants judged whether sentences were sensible by making a response that required moving toward or away from their bodies. When a sentence implied action in one direction (e.g., "Close the drawer" implies action away from the body), the(More)
Let's start from scratch in thinking about what memory is for, and consequently, how it works. Suppose that memory and conceptualization work in the service of perception and action. In this case, conceptualization is the encoding of patterns of possible physical interaction with a three-dimensional world. These patterns are constrained by the structure of(More)
model meaning as the relations among abstract symbols that are arbitrarily related to what they signify. These symbols are ungrounded in that they are not tied to perceptual experience or action. Because the symbols are ungrounded, they cannot, in principle, capture the meaning of novel situations. In contrast, participants in three experiments found it(More)
Embodiment theory proposes that neural systems for perception and action are also engaged during language comprehension. Previous neuroimaging and neurophysiological studies have only been able to demonstrate modulation of action systems during comprehension of concrete language. We provide neurophysiological evidence for modulation of motor system activity(More)
Evolution and the brain have done a marvelous job solving many tricky problems in action control, including problems of learning, hierarchical control over serial behavior, continuous recalibration, and fluency in the face of slow feedback. Given that evolution tends to be conservative, it should not be surprising that these solutions are exploited to solve(More)
In this article, we explore the nature of the conceptual knowledge retrieved when people use words to think about objects. If conceptual knowledge is used to simulate and guide action in the world, then how one can interact with an object should be reflected in the speed of retrieval and the content that is retrieved. This prediction was tested in three(More)
When people are asked moderately difficult questions, they often avert their gazes. We report five experiments in which we documented this phenomenon. They demonstrate that (1) the frequency of gaze aversion is related to the difficulty of cognitive processing, (2) this behavior cannot be due solely to demand characteristics or embarrassment, and (3) the(More)
The Indexical Hypothesis describes how sentences become meaningful through grounding their interpretation in action. We develop support for the hypothesis by examining how people understand innovative denominal verbs, that is, verbs made from nouns and first encountered by participants within the experiment (e.g., to crutch). Experiments 1 and 2(More)