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An embodied semantic processing effect on eye gaze during sentence reading

  • Catherine I. Phillips (a1), Christopher R. Sears (a1) and Penny M. Pexman (a1)


The present research examines the effects of body-object interaction (BOI) on eye gaze behaviour in a reading task. BOI measures perceptions of the ease with which a human body can physically interact with a word's referent. A set of high BOI words (e.g. cat) and a set of low BOI words (e.g. sun) were selected, matched on imageability and concreteness (as well as other lexical and semantic variables). Facilitatory BOI effects were observed: gaze durations and total fixation durations were shorter for high BOI words, and participants made fewer regressions to high BOI words. The results provide evidence of a BOI effect on non-manual responses and in a situation that taps normal reading processes. We discuss how the results (a) suggest that stored motor information (as measured by BOI ratings) is relevant to lexical semantics, and (b) are consistent with an embodied view of cognition (Wilson 2002).


Corresponding author

Correspondence addresses: Penny M. Pexman, Psychology Department, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada. E-mail:


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An embodied semantic processing effect on eye gaze during sentence reading

  • Catherine I. Phillips (a1), Christopher R. Sears (a1) and Penny M. Pexman (a1)


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