According to the perceptual symbols theory (Barsalou, 1999), sensorimotor simulations underlie the representation of concepts. We investigated whether recognition memory for pictures of concepts was facilitated by earlier representation of visual properties of those concepts. During study, concept names (e.g., apple) were presented in a property verification task with a visual property (e.g., shiny) or with a nonvisual property (e.g., tart). Delayed picture recognition memory was better if the concept name had been presented with a visual property than if it had been presented with a nonvisual property. These results indicate that modality-specific simulations are used for concept representation.

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Experimental Psychology
Department of Psychology

Pecher, D, Zanolie, K, & Zeelenberg, R. (2007). Verifying Visual Properties in Sentence Verification Facilitates Picture Recognition Memory. Experimental Psychology, 54(3), 173–179. doi:10.1027/1618-3169.54.3.173