How does language comprehension interact with motor activity? We investigated the conditions under which comprehending an action sentence affects people's balance. We performed two experiments to assess whether sentences describing forward or backward movement modulate the lateral movements made by subjects who made sensibility judgments about the sentences. In one experiment subjects were standing on a balance board and in the other they were seated on a balance board that was mounted on a chair. This allowed us to investigate whether the action compatibility effect (ACE) is robust and persists in the face of salient incompatibilities between sentence content and subject movement. Growth-curve analysis of the movement trajectories produced by the subjects in response to the sentences suggests that the ACE is indeed robust. Sentence content influenced movement trajectory despite salient inconsistencies between implied and actual movement. These results are interpreted in the context of the current discussion of embodied, or grounded, language comprehension and meaning representation.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL,
Journal PLoS ONE
Zwaan, R.A, van der Stoep, N, Guadalupe, T, & Bouwmeester, S. (2012). Language comprehension in the balance: The Robustness of the action-compatibility effect (ACE). PLoS ONE, 7(2). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031204