Grounding language in action

  title={Grounding language in action},
  author={Arthur M. Glenberg and Michael P. Kaschak},
  journal={Psychonomic Bulletin \& Review},
We report a new phenomenon associated with language comprehension: theaction—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 participants had difficulty making a sensibility judgment requiring a response in the opposite direction. The ACE was demonstrated for three… 

Just out of reach: On the reliability of the action-sentence compatibility effect.

  • Megan H Papesh
  • Psychology
    Journal of experimental psychology. General
  • 2015
The present study began as an attempt to extend the ACE in a new direction, but eventually became a series of attempts to simply replicate the effect, testing whether the ACE extends to a novel mouse-tracking method and/or is susceptible to higher-order cognitive influences.

Counterfactual sentences activate embodied meaning: An action–sentence compatibility effect study

Recent evidence suggests that understanding factual action-related sentences involves embodied simulations. But, what happens with counterfactual sentences that describe hypothetical events in the

Action-Sentence Compatibility: The Role of Action Effects and Timing

Evidence is provided by the action-sentence compatibility effect (ACE) which shows that sensibility judgments for sentences are faster when the direction of the described action matches the response direction, and results provide evidence that the comprehension of action sentences involves the activation of representations of action effects.

Inferences about action engage action systems

The Action-Sentence Compatibility Effect in ASL: the role of semantics vs. perception*

A significant congruency effect relative to the verb’s semantics rather than to the perceived motion indicates that (a) the motor system is involved in the comprehension of a visual–manual language, and (b) motor simulations for sign language are modulated by verb semanticsrather than by the perceived visual motion of the hands.

Comprehending Sentences With the Body: Action Compatibility in British Sign Language?

Results suggest that the richer contextual information provided by BSL sentences versus written or spoken English may reduce the need for action simulation in comprehension, at least when the event described does not map completely onto the signer's own body.

Taking Action: A Cross-Modal Investigation of Discourse-Level Representations

Two experiments that used a cross-modal priming paradigm to investigate how humans represent the relations between events point toward common representations activated by motor sequences and discourse-semantic relations, and further the understanding of the mental representation of discourse structure.

Constructing meaning for up and down situated sentences: Is a sentence more than the sum of its words?

abstract The present study was concerned with the question whether comprehension is based on mental simulation processes beyond the word level. In Experiment 1, participants were presented with

The Action-Sentence Compatibility Effect: It's All in the Timing

Results show that the ACE arises only when participants have the opportunity to plan their motor response while they are processing the sentence, and how the time at which one prepares the motor response required for the sensibility judgment affects the magnitude of the ACE is explored.

The Action-Sentence Compatibility Effect in Japanese Sentences

  • S. Awazu
  • Psychology
    Perceptual and motor skills
  • 2011
Action-sentence compatibility effect is assessed in Japanese, an SOV language, and in foot responses, where reaction times were significantly faster when there was congruity between theeffector described in the sentences and the effector actually used for the response.



Constructing Meaning: The Role of Affordances and Grammatical Constructions in Sentence Comprehension

Abstract 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

The effects of causal cohesion on comprehension and memory


It is argued that NE is an instance of the exclamative sentence type and that basic formal and semantic properties of NE follow from this categorization, and it is suggested that the relationship between NE and likeExclamatives can be represented in an INHERITANCE NETWORK.

Symbol Grounding and Meaning: A Comparison of High-Dimensional and Embodied Theories of Meaning

Latent Semantic Analysis (Landauer & Dumais, 1997) and Hyperspace Analogue to Language (Burgess & Lund, 1997) model meaning as the relations among abstract symbols that are arbitrarily related to

On the relations between seen objects and components of potential actions.

  • M. TuckerR. Ellis
  • Psychology, Biology
    Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance
  • 1998
Three experiments using a stimulus-response compatibility paradigm with photographs of common graspable objects as stimuli show that compatibility effects of an irrelevant stimulus dimension can be obtained across a wide variety of naturally occurring stimuli, and support the view that intentions to act operate on already existing motor representations of the possible actions in a visual scene.

The Effect of Implied Orientation Derived from Verbal Context on Picture Recognition

This work tested the hypothesis, derived from perceptual symbol theories, that people mentally represent the orientation of an object implied by a verbal description, and found that pictures matching the orientations implied by the sentence were responded to faster than pictures that did not match the orientation.

Force Dynamics in Language and Cognition

Overall, force dynamics emerges as a fundamental notional system that structures conceptual material pertaining to force interaction in a common way across a linguistic range: the physical, psychological, social, inferential, discourse, and mental-model domains of reference and conception.

Indexical understanding of instructions

Support for the indexical hypothesis is demonstrated by manipulating the opportunity to index words to objects while acquiring background information about how to use a compass and map to identify landmarks.

Modelling Parsing Constraints with High-dimensional Context Space

It is proposed that HAL's high-dim ensional context space can be used to provide a basic categorisation of semantic and grammatical concepts, model certain aspects of morphological ambiguity in verbs, and provide an account of semantic context effects in syntactic processing.

Minds, brains, and programs

  • J. Searle
  • Philosophy
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 1980
Only a machine could think, and only very special kinds of machines, namely brains and machines with internal causal powers equivalent to those of brains, and no program by itself is sufficient for thinking.