In eight experiments, we explored matching effects between oral approach–avoidance movements triggered by word articulation and meaning of the objects the words denoted. Participants (total N = 1264) rated their liking for words that featured consonantal muscle stricture spots either wandering inwards (e.g., BODIKA, resembling ingestion movements) or outwards (e.g., KODIBA, resembling expectoration movements). These words were labelled as names for various objects. For objects the use of which entails ingestive oral actions (lemonade and mouthwash) inward words were preferred over outward words. For objects that trigger expectorative oral actions (toxical chemical, pill, and bubble gum) this preference was attenuated or even reversed (outward words were liked more than inward). Valence of the denoted object did not play a role in these modulations. Thus, the sagittal direction of mouth movements during silent reading meaningfully interacted with direction of oral actions associated with the denoted objects.

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Cognition and Emotion
Department of Psychology

Topolinski, S., Boecker, L., Erle, T. M., Bakhtiari, G., & Pecher, D. (2017). Matching between oral inward–outward movements of object names and oral movements associated with denoted objects. Cognition and Emotion, 31(1), 3–18. doi:10.1080/02699931.2015.1073692