The present study examined the ways that body posture facilitated retrieval of autobiographical memories in more detail by focusing on two aspects of congruence in position of a specific body part: hand shape and hand orientation. Hand shape is important in the tactile perception and manipulation of objects. We manipulated two aspects of hand shape: orientation (vertical vs. horizontal) and aperture (grip vs. no-grip). We manipulated orientation and aperture to create memory-congruent and memory-incongruent hand shapes. For example, a horizontal-grip shape is congruent with pushing a shopping cart, but inconsistent with doing a karate chop. We predicted that memory-congruent hand shapes would produce faster access to autobiographical memories than memory-incongruent hand shapes.

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Department of Psychology

Dijkstra, K., Kaschak, M. P., & Zwaan, R. (2008). Hand Shape Affects Access to Memories. Retrieved from