When feelings speak: How affective and proprioceptive cues change language abstraction

C.J. Beukeboom, E.M. de Jong

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Cognitive tuning accounts argue that both affective feelings and bodily feelings induce changes in information processing (N. Schwarz & G. L. Clore, 1996). This article examines how these effects of feelings are reflected in language abstraction. On the basis of previous work showing that affective cues change language abstraction, we hypothesized that proprioceptive cues (i.e., bodily feelings) associated with global processing (arm flexion) should induce more abstract language use, compared with bodily feelings associated with analytic processing (arm extension). This prediction received support in a study in which participants performed a written self-description task either while pressing their nondominant hand under the table (arm flexion), or on top of the table (arm extension), or while keeping their arm relaxed (control). Implications for interpersonal communication are discussed. © 2003, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-122
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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