This research aims to explore the processing of embodied meaning during the comprehension of Chinese transfer verbs which is different from the typical structure of transfer verbs in English and other Indo-European languages. An Action-sentence Compatibility Effect (ACE) paradigm was used, in which participants were asked to read sentences describing a transfer verb either away from (At the court, a player throws tennis ball to opposite side) or toward themselves (At the court, a player throws tennis ball to my side). Following the transfer verb, a visual motion cue appeared on the screen after one of the three stimulus onset asychrony (SOA), prompting participants to move their hand either away from or toward themselves by pressing a button. The results showed that under short SOAs (cue presented 100 ms or 200 ms after the verb onset), interference occurred in the matching conditions. After larger delaying of the cue (350 ms), facilitation emerged in matching conditions. The results reflect special features in describing motion events by using Chinese transfer verbs, providing evidence that the comprehension of transfer-verb sentences in Mandarin activates the sensory-motor systems of our body, either interfering or facilitating a motor response performed in parallel.

Open Access