Processing Differences of Effector-Related Nouns and Verbs: Discussing Effector-Specific Compatibility Effects

Daniela Katharina Ahlberg, Jessica Vanessa Strozyk, Carolin Dudschig, Barbara Kaup

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According to the experiential-traces account, which is part of the embodied cognition framework, language comprehension is based on the reactivation of experiential traces that stem from experiencing the corresponding objects, states, or events. Behavioural research finds support for this theory in interactions between language and motor processing. While this so-called action-compatibility-effect is often found for sentences and nouns, the evidence in case of action verbs seems unclear. Although neuropsychological studies found that information encoded in action verbs gets reactivated, a behavioural study found no compatibility effect. To further address this issue, we investigated effector specific compatibility effects in three experiments by comparing results of a lexical-decision task with those of a Stroop-like task. We found effector specific activation for action verbs only with a lexical-decision task. This supports the view, that verbs and nouns are processed differently. To activate the effector specific information in action verbs, deeper processing is needed.