NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1219349
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jun
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1551-6709
Affordance Compatibility Effect for Word Learning in Virtual Reality
Gordon, Chelsea L.; Shea, Timothy M.; Noelle, David C.; Balasubramaniam, Ramesh
Cognitive Science, v43 n6 e12742 Jun 2019
Rich sensorimotor interaction facilitates language learning and is presumed to ground conceptual representations. Yet empirical support for early stages of embodied word learning is currently lacking. Finding evidence that sensorimotor interaction shapes learned linguistic representations would provide crucial support for embodied language theories. We developed a gamified word learning experiment in virtual reality in which participants learned the names of six novel objects by grasping and manipulating objects with either their left or right hand. Participants then completed a word--color match task in which they were tested on the same six words and objects. Participants were faster to respond to stimuli in the match task when the response hand was compatible with the hand used to interact with the named object, an effect we refer to as affordance compatibility. In two follow up experiments, we found that merely observing virtual hands interact with the objects was sufficient to acquire a smaller affordance compatibility effect, and we found that the compatibility effect was driven primarily by responses with a compatible hand and not by responses in a compatible spatial location. Our results support theoretical views of language which ground word representations in sensorimotor experiences, and they suggest promising future routes to explore the sensorimotor foundations of higher cognition through immersive virtual experiments.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DGE1633722