The aim of this review is to consider how current vocabulary training methods could be optimized by considering recent scientific insights in how the brain represents conceptual knowledge. We outline the findings from several methods of vocabulary training. In each case, we consider how taking an embodied cognition perspective could impact word learning. The evidence we review suggests that vocabulary training methods can be optimized by making a congruent link between the words to learn and one’s own perceptual and motoric experiences. In particular, we suggest that motoric information about the meaning of a word could be incorporated into more standard vocabulary training methods. Finally, we consider the impact an embodied cognitive perspective may have on other characteristics of word learning, such as individual differences in learning and variations in learning different types of words, for example words from different word classes and words in different contexts.

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Educational Psychology Review
Department of Psychology

Hald, L. A., de Nooijer, J., van Gog, T., & Bekkering, H. (2016). Optimizing Word Learning via Links to Perceptual and Motoric Experience. Educational Psychology Review (Vol. 28, pp. 495–522). doi:10.1007/s10648-015-9334-2