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31-05-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 4/2017

Psychological Research 4/2017

Sentence plausibility influences the link between action words and the perception of biological human movements

Tijdschrift:
Psychological Research > Uitgave 4/2017
Auteurs:
Christel Bidet-Ildei, Manuel Gimenes, Lucette Toussaint, Yves Almecija, Arnaud Badets

Abstract

The present study aimed to assess the role of sentence plausibility in the functional link between action words and visual judgments of point-light human actions. Following the oral presentation of action verbs included in a plausible or implausible sentence, participants were asked to detect the presence of congruent or incongruent biological movements. Sentence plausibility was manipulated by inverting the positions of the subject and the complement (e.g., the neighbor is running in the garden vs the garden is running in the neighbor). The results showed that for both plausible and implausible sentences, the detection of human movements is greater following presentation of congruent action verbs. These results suggest that the presentation of action verbs affects the subsequent perception of point-light human movements, regardless of the associated semantic context. However, the link between action verbs and judgment of biological movements is strengthened when plausible sentences are presented, as illustrated by the increase in visual detection capacity in plausible congruent conditions. Concerning the analysis of the detection speed, the performance is only affected in plausible sentences with slower response times associated with the presentation of an incongruent action verb. These findings are discussed in light of an embodied mechanism and the domain of biological movement perception.

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