Research in cognitive neuroscience has shown that brain structures serving perceptual, emotional, and motor processes are also recruited during the understanding of language when it refers to emotion, perception, and action. However, the exact linguistic and extralinguistic conditions under which such language-induced activity in modality-specific cortex is triggered are not yet well understood. The purpose of this study is to introduce a simple experimental technique that allows for the online measure of language-induced activity in motor structures of the brain. This technique consists in the use of a grip force sensor that captures subtle grip force variations while participants listen to words and sentences. Since grip force reflects activity in motor brain structures, the continuous monitoring of force fluctuations provides a fine-grained estimation of motor activity across time. In other terms, this method allows for both localization of the source of language-induced activity to motor brain structures and high temporal resolution of the recorded data. To facilitate comparison of the data to be collected with this tool, we present two experiments that describe in detail the technical setup, the nature of the recorded data, and the analyses (including justification about the data filtering and artifact rejection) that we applied. We also discuss how the tool could be used in other domains of behavioral research.

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Keywords Grip-force sensor . Embodiment . Language . Motor system
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Journal Behavior Research Methods (Print)
Nazir, T. A., Hrycyk, L., Moreau, Q., Frak, V., Cheylus, A., Ott, L., … Delevoye-Turrell, Y. (2017). A Simple Technique to Study Embodied Language Processes: The Grip-Force Sensor. Behavior Research Methods (Print), 49, 61–73. doi:10.3758/s13428-015-0696-7