Poster D75, Monday, March 26, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Open arms and open minds: The effects of posture and modality on the recall of affect-related concepts
Hannah M. Morrow1, Gitte H. Joergensen1, Eiling Yee1; 1University of Connecticut
Sensorimotor-based theories of semantic memory make explicit predictions about how we represent object concepts, e.g., “dog”. However, it is not clear how they accommodate concepts for which there is no external sensory input, e.g. “joy” or “power”. There is evidence that representations of affect-related concepts are based in emotional states (Vigliocco et al., 2009). If true, body postures associated with emotional states may be involved in the representations of such concepts. We examined whether posture influences processing for words related to affect and/or dominance. Participants were randomly assigned to hold expansive or contractive postures under the guise that this would affect their heart rate. Subsequently, they completed a semantic categorization task that included words varying in valence and dominance. Next, they completed an old/new recognition task for the previously categorized words. In Exp.1 all words were presented visually. In the recognition task participants who previously held the expansive postures responded to positive valence and high dominance words faster than to negative valence and low dominance words. In Exp.2 the words were presented auditorily in the semantic categorization task and visually in the recognition task. There was no influence of posture for either task. In Exp.3 all words were presented auditorily. We found the same pattern of results as observed in Exp. 1. These findings suggest that, like for object concepts, bodily experience plays a role in the representation of affective and dominance-related concepts. However, this is only the case when words across tasks are presented in the same modality.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Semantic