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Words That Move Us. The Effects of Sentences on Body Sway
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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Number of Authors: 5
2017 (English)In: Advances in Cognitive Psychology, ISSN 1895-1171, E-ISSN 1895-1171, Vol. 13, no 2, 156-165 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

According to the embodied cognition perspective, cognitive systems and perceptuo-motor systems are deeply intertwined and exert a causal effect on each other. A prediction following from this idea is that cognitive activity can result in subtle changes in observable movement. In one experiment, we tested whether reading various sentences resulted in changes in postural sway. Sentences symbolized various human activities involving high, low, or no physical effort. Dutch participants stood upright on a force plate, measuring the body center of pressure, while reading a succession of sentences. High physical effort sentences resulted in more postural sway (greater SD) than low physical effort sentences. This effect only showed up in medio-lateral sway but not anterio-posterior sway. This suggests that sentence comprehension was accompanied by subtle motoric activity, likely mirroring the various activities symbolized in the sentences. We conclude that semantic processing reaches the motor periphery, leading to increased postural activity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 13, no 2, 156-165 p.
Keyword [en]
embodied cognition, language processing, postural sway, motor control
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145823DOI: 10.5709/acp-0215-9ISI: 000406030200004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-145823DiVA: diva2:1136463
Available from: 2017-08-28 Created: 2017-08-28 Last updated: 2017-08-28Bibliographically approved

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