To dash or to dawdle: verb-associated speed of motion influences eye movements during spoken sentence comprehension

Lindsay, S., Scheepers, C. and Kamide, Y. (2013) To dash or to dawdle: verb-associated speed of motion influences eye movements during spoken sentence comprehension. PLoS ONE, 8(6), e67187. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067187) (PMID:23805299) (PMCID:PMC3689699)

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In describing motion events verbs of manner provide information about the speed of agents or objects in those events. We used eye tracking to investigate how inferences about this verb-associated speed of motion would influence the time course of attention to a visual scene that matched an event described in language. Eye movements were recorded as participants heard spoken sentences with verbs that implied a fast (“dash”) or slow (“dawdle”) movement of an agent towards a goal. These sentences were heard whilst participants concurrently looked at scenes depicting the agent and a path which led to the goal object. Our results indicate a mapping of events onto the visual scene consistent with participants mentally simulating the movement of the agent along the path towards the goal: when the verb implies a slow manner of motion, participants look more often and longer along the path to the goal; when the verb implies a fast manner of motion, participants tend to look earlier at the goal and less on the path. These results reveal that event comprehension in the presence of a visual world involves establishing and dynamically updating the locations of entities in response to linguistic descriptions of events.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scheepers, Dr Christoph
Authors: Lindsay, S., Scheepers, C., and Kamide, Y.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 8(6):e67187
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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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