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Embodied semantic processing: The body-object interaction effect in a non-manual task

  • Michele Wellsby (a1), Paul D. Siakaluk (a1), William J. Owen (a1) and Penny M. Pexman (a2)


Body-object interaction (BOI) measures people's perceptions of the ease with which a human body can physically interact with a word's referent. Facilitatory BOI effects, involving faster responses for high BOI words, have been reported in a number of visual word recognition tasks using button press responses. Since BOI effects have only been observed in button-press tasks, it is possible that the effects may be due to priming by high BOI words of the motor system, rather than activation of stored motor information in the lexical semantic system. If this hypothesis is correct, BOI effects should not be observed in tasks using verbal responses. We tested this hypothesis in three versions of a go/no-go semantic categorization task: one version required button press responses, whereas the other two versions required verbal responses. Contrary to the motor priming hypothesis, we observed facilitatory BOI effects in all three versions of the semantic categorization task. These results support the inference that stored motor information is indeed an important component of the lexical semantic system.


Corresponding author

Correspondence addresses: P. Siakaluk, Psychology Department, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC, CanadaV2N 4Z9. E-mail:


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Embodied semantic processing: The body-object interaction effect in a non-manual task

  • Michele Wellsby (a1), Paul D. Siakaluk (a1), William J. Owen (a1) and Penny M. Pexman (a2)


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