Observing actions and understanding sentences about actions activates corresponding motor processes in the observer– comprehender. In 5 experiments, the authors addressed 2 novel questions regarding language-based motor resonance. The 1st question asks whether visual motion that is associated with an action produces motor resonance in sentence comprehension. The 2nd question asks whether motor resonance is modulated during sentence comprehension. The authors’ experiments provide an affirmative response to both questions. A rotating visual stimulus affects both actual manual rotation and the comprehension of manual rotation sentences. Motor resonance is modulated by the linguistic input and is a rather immediate and localized phenomenon. The results are discussed in the context of theories of action observation and mental simulation.

action observation, embodied cognition, language comprehension, mental simulation, mirror system, psychology
dx.doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.135.1.1, hdl.handle.net/1765/12099
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
Department of Psychology

Zwaan, R.A, & Taylor, L.J. (2008). Seeing, Acting, Understanding. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 135(1), 1–11. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.135.1.1