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ERIC Number: EJ780883
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Aug
Pages: 17
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-0163-853X
The Non-Literal Enactment Effect: Filling in the Blanks
Noice, Helga; Noice, Tony
Discourse Processes: A Multidisciplinary Journal, v44 n2 p73-89 Aug 2007
A large body of research has shown that verbal phrases such as "move the pen" are better remembered when they are physically enacted than when the same phrases are studied under standard verbal learning instructions (e.g., Engelkamp & Krumnacker, 1980). More recently, a non-literal enactment effect was discovered in which verbal material that was not literally congruent with the accompanying movement was nevertheless better remembered if the speaker had been moving during the utterance. The early demonstrations of this phenomenon involved actors' performances on stage, but the effects were later replicated with non-actors in a lab. A possible explanation for the non-literal effect is that the words and the performed actions are connected at a goal level. In the preliminary study, self-reports of professional actors revealed that all on-stage movements are carefully designed to explain or constrain how the accompanying verbal material constitutes an attempt to reach a goal. In the main study, it was found that this non-verbal information is sufficiently explicit so that non-actors, unacquainted with the situation or the dialogue, can accurately determine the intended goal-directed meaning. The connections between the non-literal enactment effect and theories of embodied cognition are discussed, along with the relevance of non-literal enactment to studies on gestures and pragmatics. (Contains 3 tables. Rules for Sorting Movement Interpretations are appended.)
Lawrence Erlbaum. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A