Embodied language: A review of the role of the motor system in language comprehension

Martin H. Fischer, Rolf A. Zwaan

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654 Citations (Scopus)


A growing body of research suggests that comprehending verbal descriptions of actions relies on an internal simulation of the described action. To assess this motor resonance account of language comprehension, we first review recent developments in the literature on perception and action, with a view towards language processing. We then examine studies of language processing from an action simulation perspective. We conclude by discussing several criteria that might be helpful with regard to assessing the role of motor resonance during language comprehension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-850
Number of pages26
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Correspondence should be addressed to Martin Fischer, School of Psychology, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK, or to Rolf A. Zwaan, Department of Psychology, Erasmus University, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected] MHF is a member of the Marie Curie Research and Training Network: Language and Brain (RTN: LAB), which is funded by the European Commission (MRTN-CT-2004–512141) as part of its Sixth Framework Program (for details see http://www.hull. ac.uk/RTN-LAB/). RAZ was supported by Grants MH-63972 from the National Institutes of Health and BCS-0446637 from the National Science Foundation. The authors thank Art Glenberg, Marc Jeannerod, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


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