Response hand differentially affects action word processing

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Recent approaches in the tradition of theories of semantic and conceptual "grounding" emphasize the role of perceptual and motor knowledge in language as well as action understanding. However, the role of the two cerebral hemispheres in integrating action-motor and language processes is not clear yet. The present study looked at the influence of a simultaneous motor tapping task on word processing. In a lexical decision task, uni-manual and bi-manual hand-related, and foot-related action verbs were presented in the left and right visual half-field. A group of healthy participants performed tapping with the left hand and lexical decisions with their right hand. In a second group of participants, the reversed hand response pattern was applied. The results showed that response hand had an influence on functional lateralization of word processing when responses were executed with the non-dominant hand. Projecting words to the ipsilateral hemisphere relative to the hemisphere performing lexical decisions led to significantly decreased performance. The results showed that left hand responses led to an increased accuracy for hand-related in contrast to foot-related action verbs. The findings suggest an influence of response hand on action word processing.




Heck, N., & Mohr, B. (2017). Response hand differentially affects action word processing. Frontiers in Psychology, 8(DEC).

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