Action semantics modulate action prediction.

Research paper by Anne A Springer, Wolfgang W Prinz

Indexed on: 08 Jun '10Published on: 08 Jun '10Published in: Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006)


Previous studies have demonstrated that action prediction involves an internal action simulation that runs time-locked to the real action. The present study replicates and extends these findings by indicating a real-time simulation process (Graf et al., 2007), which can be differentiated from a similarity-based evaluation of internal action representations. Moreover, results showed that action semantics modulate action prediction accuracy. The semantic effect was specified by the processing of action verbs and concrete nouns (Experiment 1) and, more specifically, by the dynamics described by action verbs (Experiment 2) and the speed described by the verbs (e.g., "to catch" vs. "to grasp" vs. "to stretch"; Experiment 3). These results propose a linkage between action simulation and action semantics as two yet unrelated domains, a view that coincides with a recent notion of a close link between motor processes and the understanding of action language.