Published On: 27/06/2013|Categories: 2013–2017, Vol.34 (2), Vol.34 (2013)|


This paper investigates how language comprehension is modulated by temporal information, marked by time adverbs, and bodily constraints imposed by motor actions. The experiment used a paradigm similar to that employed by de Vega, Robertson, Glenberg, Kaschak and Rinck (2004), but included significant refinements in the materials and the procedure, allowing for stronger theoretical conclusions. Participants read sentences describing two manual actions as simultaneous or consecutive by means of the adverbs while or after, respectively (e.g., While [After] cleaning the wound he unrolled the bandage). Comprehension was more difficult (longer reading times and lower sensibility rates) when actions were described as simultaneous. This indicates that the semantics of time marked by temporal adverbs is not an independent dimension, but interacts with the motor properties of the described actions. These results cannot be easily explained by the temporal iconicity assumption, but they are consistent with embodied theories of language such as the indexical hypothesis.

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