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Interfering ACE on comprehending embodied meaning in action-related Chinese counterfactual sentences

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 August 2019

Institute for Language and Cognition, School of Foreign Languages, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China
Institute for Language and Cognition, School of Foreign Languages, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China
Institute for Language and Cognition, School of Foreign Languages, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China
Institute for Language and Cognition, School of Foreign Languages, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China
School of Psychology, University of Queensland St Lucia, Australia
*Address for correspondence: Xiaoli Yan: e-mail:


The present study explores whether embodied meaning is activated in comprehension of action-related Mandarin counterfactual sentences. Participants listened to action-related Mandarin factual or counterfactual sentences describing transfer events (actions towards or away from the participant), and then performed verb-compatible or -incompatible motor action after a transfer verb (action towards or away from the participant) onset. The results demonstrated that motor simulation, specifically the interfering action-sentence compatibility effect (ACE), was obtained in both factual and counterfactual sentences. Additionally, the temporal course of motor resonance was slightly different between factual and counterfactual sentences. We concluded that embodied meaning was activated in action-related Chinese counterfactual sentences. The results supported a neural network model of Chersi, Thill, Ziemke, and Borghi (2010), proposed within the embodiment approach, which explains the interaction between processing action-related sentences and motor performance. Moreover, we speculated that the neural network model of Chersi et al. was also applicable to action-related Mandarin counterfactual comprehension.

Copyright © UK Cognitive Linguistics Association 2019 

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The research was supported by the Research Funds for the School of International Education at Dalian University of Technology (Grant No. SIE18RZD1) and the Key Project of the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities in China (Grant No. DUT18RW212).



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