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ERIC Number: EJ859961
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 79
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0096-3445
Embodiment of Abstract Concepts: Good and Bad in Right- and Left-Handers
Casasanto, Daniel
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v138 n3 p351-367 Aug 2009
Do people with different kinds of bodies think differently? According to the "body-specificity hypothesis," people who interact with their physical environments in systematically different ways should form correspondingly different mental representations. In a test of this hypothesis, 5 experiments investigated links between handedness and the mental representation of abstract concepts with positive or negative valence (e.g., honesty, sadness, intelligence). Mappings from spatial location to emotional valence differed between right- and left-handed participants. Right-handers tended to associate rightward space with positive ideas and leftward space with negative ideas, but left-handers showed the opposite pattern, associating rightward space with negative ideas and leftward with positive ideas. These contrasting mental metaphors for valence cannot be attributed to linguistic experience, because idioms in English associate "good" with "right" but not with "left." Rather, right- and left-handers implicitly associated positive valence more strongly with the side of space on which they could act more fluently with their dominant hands. These results support the body-specificity hypothesis and provide evidence for the perceptuomotor basis of even the most abstract ideas. (Contains 3 figures and 4 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail: order@apa.org; Web site: http://www.apa.org/publications
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A