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Episodic affordances contribute to language comprehension

  • Arthur M. Glenberg (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Raymond Becker (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Susann Klötzer (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Lidia Kolanko (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Silvana Müller (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) and Mike Rinck (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4)...


We demonstrate how a particular type of knowledge about objects, their spatial locations and thus how to direct actions toward them, contributes to the comprehension of language about those objects. In four experiments, participants judged if sentences were about normal objects (e.g., “The apple has a stem”) or odd objects (e.g., “The apple has an antenna”). The Normal response key was either on the left of a response box or on the right. The named objects were themselves either on the left or the right of the response box. We demonstrate a compatibility effect in which responding Normal to the side where the object was located was faster than responding Normal to the opposite side. Furthermore, this effect was equally strong for sentences describing states of the objects (as above) and sentences describing actions (e.g., “Touch the apple at the stem”); the compatibility effect was found when the objects were removed; the effect required compatibility between actions, not just spatial locations; and the effect was found in both English and German. The results are discussed in relation to how action systems are used in language comprehension.


Corresponding author

Correspondence addresses: Arthur Glenberg, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, 950 S. McAllister, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA. E-mail:


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Episodic affordances contribute to language comprehension

  • Arthur M. Glenberg (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Raymond Becker (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Susann Klötzer (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Lidia Kolanko (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Silvana Müller (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) and Mike Rinck (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4)...


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