Event processing in the visual world: projected motion paths during spoken sentence comprehension

Kamide, Y., Lindsay, S., Scheepers, C. and Kukona, A. (2016) Event processing in the visual world: projected motion paths during spoken sentence comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42(5), pp. 804-812. (doi:10.1037/xlm0000199) (PMID:26478958) (PMCID:PMC4849431)

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Abstract

Motion events in language describe the movement of an entity to another location along a path. In 2 eye-tracking experiments, we found that comprehension of motion events involves the online construction of a spatial mental model that integrates language with the visual world. In Experiment 1, participants listened to sentences describing the movement of an agent to a goal while viewing visual scenes depicting the agent, goal, and empty space in between. Crucially, verbs suggested either upward (e.g., jump) or downward (e.g., crawl) paths. We found that in the rare event of fixating the empty space between the agent and goal, visual attention was biased upward or downward in line with the verb. In Experiment 2, visual scenes depicted a central obstruction, which imposed further constraints on the paths and increased the likelihood of fixating the empty space between the agent and goal. The results from this experiment corroborated and refined the previous findings. Specifically, eye-movement effects started immediately after hearing the verb and were in line with data from an additional mouse-tracking task that encouraged a more explicit spatial reenactment of the motion event. In revealing how event comprehension operates in the visual world, these findings suggest a mental simulation process whereby spatial details of motion events are mapped onto the world through visual attention. The strength and detectability of such effects in overt eye-movements is constrained by the visual world and the fact that perceivers rarely fixate regions of empty space.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This article may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scheepers, Dr Christoph
Authors: Kamide, Y., Lindsay, S., Scheepers, C., and Kukona, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0278-7393
ISSN (Online):1939-1285
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 American Psychological Association
First Published:First published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition 42(5): 804-812
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
538731Dynamic mental representationsChristoph ScheepersEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)RES-062-23-2842RI NEUROSCIENCE & PSYCHOLOGY