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Semantic effects in word recognition are moderated by body-object interaction

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A potential embodied influence in the semantic effects of Danger and Usefulness is investigated using Body-Object Interaction (BOI). Lexical decision times are influenced by ratings of Danger and Usefulness. In a frequently-found interaction, thought to be produced by activated approach-withdraw motor responses, increasing Danger ratings produce faster responses for items with lower Usefulness ratings while producing slower responses for items with higher Usefulness ratings. BOI is used to test the embodied explanation of this interaction. The same 102 words were presented in two lexical decision experiments. In both auditory and visual lexical decision, the effects of Danger and Usefulness were found to be diminished for items with higher BOI ratings. BOI moderates Danger and Usefulness effects in both auditory and visual lexical decision, in a way that suggests BOI is either the stronger or the temporally earlier effect.
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Keywords: auditory lexical decision; body-object interaction; danger; embodiment; lexical access; survival processing; usefulness; visual lexical decision

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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