Embodiment Effects in Lexical Processing
Paul Siakaluk
University of Northern British Columbia

Embodied cognition is the idea that knowledge gained through sensorimotor and emotional experience underlies much conceptual knowledge. Within the past ten to fifteen years, there has been considerable interest in examining embodiment effects in language processing. My research efforts are primarily concerned with examining embodiment effects in the processing of single words and insults. In this talk, I will present evidence that: (1) sensory and motor knowledge (as measured by the dimensions of imageability and body-object interaction, respectively) are integral aspects of lexical conceptual knowledge for concrete nouns; (2) emotional knowledge (as measured by emotional experience) is an integral aspect of lexical conceptual knowledge for abstract nouns; and (3) bodily knowledge is an integral aspect of lexical conceptual knowledge for many English insults. These sources of evidence have been obtained from a variety of word recognition tasks (e.g., lexical decision, semantic categorization, Stroop). I will propose that my research findings are consistent with several independent but inter-related theoretical frameworks, including Barsalou’s (1999) perceptual symbol systems framework, Vigliocco, Meteyard, Andrews, and Kousta’s (2009) semantic representation framework, and Hino and Lupker’s (1996) semantic feedback activation framework.