The actions associated with objects are thought to be automatically activated when processing object names. Recent studies, however, have failed to find evidence for a role of the motor system in long-term memory for objects. One exception is a study by van Dam et al. (2013) in which participants studied object names associated with pressing (e.g., doorbell) or twisting (e.g., jar), followed by pressing or twisting actions in a seemingly unrelated task. In the final memory test, performance for action congruent words was better than for action incongruent words. We aimed to generalize these findings. In Experiments 1 and 2, we found no effect of action congruency on repetition priming in lexical decision and man-made/natural decision. In Experiment 3, the action congruency manipulation was administered immediately after initial study or a day later, just prior to the recognition memory test. We found no effects of action congruency and timing of the action. Finally, Experiment 4 was a direct replication of Experiment 1 of van Dam et al. (2013). Again, we failed to find an effect of poststudy action congruency. Thus, we obtained no evidence for the view that motor actions play a role in long-term memory for objects

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Experimental Psychology
Department of Psychology