Sensory constraints on perceptual simulation during sentence reading
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Resource-constrained models of language processing predict that perceptual simulation during language understanding would be compromised by sensory limitations (such as reading text in unfamiliar/difficult font), whereas strong versions of embodied theories of language would predict that simulating perceptual symbols in language would not be impaired even under sensory-constrained situations. In 2 experiments, sensory decoding difficulty was manipulated by using easy and hard fonts to study
... eptual simulation during sentence reading (Zwaan, Stanfield, & Yaxley, 2002) . Results indicated that simulating perceptual symbols in language was not compromised by surface-form decoding challenges such as difficult font, suggesting relative resilience of embodied language processing in the face of certain sensory constraints. Further implications for learning from text and individual differences in language processing will be discussed. Public Significance Statement Two studies with college-age young adults in simple sentence reading found that even though sensory challenges, such as those created by hard font, obviously slowed down the reading speed, but interestingly, did not affect readers' ability to infer (i.e., a reading process of predicting information not expressed by but that can be implied from the text) the physical shapes of the embedded concepts in sentences. Our results hold promises for individuals with either acquired (such as aging) or congenital (such as low vision/hearing, blindness or deafness) sensory disabilities, when implementing language-based training, intervention and/or rehabilitation programs to better their daily lives.