Poster F48, Tuesday, March 27, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Sensory simulation, motor simulation and mentalizing during narrative reading: Insights from eye-tracking
Marloes Mak1, Roel M. Willems1,2; 1Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, 2Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
People engage in simulation when they become part of a narrative. In this study, we tried to pinpoint how different kinds of simulation (i.e. sensorimotor simulation, mentalizing) affect reading behavior. Eye-tracking data and self-report questionnaires were collected from 102 participants. All participants read the same three stories, in counterbalanced order. In a pre-test, 90 participants that did not participate in the eye-tracking experiment had determined which parts of the stories were high in motor simulation-eliciting content (n=30), sensory simulation-eliciting content (n=30) or mentalizing-eliciting content (n=30), resulting in scores of 0-30 per type of simulation-eliciting content, per word. The results show that words higher in motor simulation-eliciting content have shorter gaze duration (they are read faster). On the contrary, words that are higher in sensory simulation-eliciting content or mentalizing-eliciting content had longer gaze duration (slower reading). These influences of simulation-eliciting content on gaze duration are attenuated or even reversed when people report a high level of attention while reading the stories, but are increased when people report a strong emotional response to the stories (if they found the story more sad, tragic, ominous, touching, and thrilling). The fact that people, in general, slow down when reading sensory simulation-eliciting content or metalizing-eliciting content is in line with our hypothesis that simulation processes take time. Interestingly, this was not the case for motor simulation-eliciting content. Perhaps the neural networks involved in motor simulation are easier to activate than networks involved in sensory simulation and mentalizing, resulting in faster reading for motor simulation-eliciting content.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Other