Language that puts you in touch with your bodily feelings: The Multimodal. Responsiveness of Affective Expressions

F. Foroni, G.R. Semin

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    Abstract

    Observing and producing a smile activate the very same facial muscles. In Experiment 1, we predicted and found that verbal stimuli (action verbs) that refer to emotional expressions elicit the same facial muscle activity (facial electromyography) as visual stimuli do. These results are evidence that language referring to facial muscular activity is not amodal, as traditionally assumed, but is instead bodily grounded. These findings were extended in Experiment 2, in which subliminally presented verbal stimuli were shown to drive muscle activation and to shape judgments, but not when muscle activation was blocked. These experiments provide an important bridge between research on the neurobiological basis of language and related behavioral research. The implications of these findings for theories of language and other domains of cognitive psychology (e.g., priming) are discussed. © 2009 Association for Psychological Science.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)974-980
    JournalPsychological Science
    Volume20
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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