The Connection Between Sentence Comprehension And Motor Representations

1485 words - 6 pages

There is contemporary evidence that some language tasks that require an individual to comprehend action words (e.g. walk) and nouns of manipulable objects (e.g.. mug) activate regions on the motor cortex. This event is recognized as motor resonance. However, this phenomenon challenges present theoretical explanation of word comprehension. There are two dominant perceptions which are followed in cognitive psychology. The first account is that individuals understand words such as “chew” from previous practice; therefore, for one to comprehend a word they must consider the prior actions and experiences that are connected with that word. The second explanation is an alternative where the word ...view middle of the document...

For example, picking up a pencil to use it versus picking up a pencil to move it. The two grasps required goal postures, which meant the grasps served a purpose.
Previous studies show that context can regulate motor resonance. However, this find has various pending issues. One concern is that objects can be primed by another word that proposes using the object or moving the object. Therefore, as V- and F-context can prime a certain action. Secondly, moving an object either toward or away from the body can be congruent or incongruent depending on the motor representations elicited by the target word. For example, the word thirst requires one to move an object (e.g. cup) towards their body. The action of moving the cup towards the body is a context-dependent action, which is congruent with the prime word thirst; however, this action would be incongruent with the prime word sink. If the sentence relays a functional interaction, congruency can modify reaction time. This occurrence is not present in volumetric interactions. However, previous research has not answered why this asymmetry is present.
There are two possible justification for this asymmetry. The first explanation is that without context that specifies the traditional function of an object, motor representations may not be stimulated. Therefore, performing a volumetric function such as moving a cup, may not evoke motor representations. On the other hand, functional and volumetric action may be simultaneously elicited by the word cup, even when the context specifies moving it, because the F-grasp is automatically stimulated by the connotation of the word. The present study was influenced by these issues. The researchers wanted to explore which motor representations were evoked when the context of the sentence explained the functional or the volumetric assets of an object.
The sentences constructed in the present research consists of two intentions. The proximal intention denoted the motor goal, which was a physical action. This was structured as “Someone carried out action X.” The distal intention informed the goal of the action, which was shown as “to accomplish purpose Y.” Therefore, regarding the sentence “John lifted the cell phone to clear the shelf,” “John lifted the cell phone” is the proximal intention, and “to clear the shelf” is the distal intention. This distinction is important because it influences the order of intentions in a hierarchal system. The system refers to the identity structure which is a structured hierarchy that follows goal states of an action. The lower levels are connected to features of an action, ergo how the proximal intention is achieved. The higher levels are associated with the conceptual idea of the action. These are distal intention which explain the reason for the action and its result. This creates a uniform identification system which corresponds with motor intentions.
The context of a sentence can effect listeners differently. The context...

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