In the sentence–picture verification (SPV) task, people read sentences implying the shape/size/colour/orientation of objects. They then verify whether pictured objects, which either match or mismatch the implied visual information mentioned in the sentence. Faster verification times on matching trials (match advantage) are considered supportive to the notion that readers perform mental simulations during sentence comprehension. This study advances this work by applying a within-subjects design to the SPV-task, enabling us to directly address the strength of and correlation between the match advantages for the properties shape, size, colour, and orientation. Results showed varying match advantages with colour showing the strongest effect, and no match advantage for orientation. Shape, size, and colour were significantly correlated, whereas there were no significant correlations with orientation. These findings suggest that interpretations of match advantages could benefit from a re-evaluation of mental simulation accountsby distinguishing between intrinsic (shape, size, and colour) and extrinsic (orientation) object properties.

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Keywords embodied cognition, Mental simulation, reading comprehension, sentencepicture verification task
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Journal Journal of Cognitive Psychology
de Koning, B.B, Wassenburg, S.I, Bos, L.T, & van der Schoot, M. (2017). Mental simulation of four visual object properties: similarities and differences as assessed by the sentence–picture verification task. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 29(4), 420–432. doi:10.1080/20445911.2017.1281283