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Top Cogn Sci. 2014 Jul;6(3):425-41. doi: 10.1111/tops.12092.

The influence of bodily experience on children's language processing.

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Department of Psychology, University of Calgary.


The Body-Object Interaction (BOI) variable measures how easily a human body can physically interact with a word's referent (Siakaluk, Pexman, Aguilera, Owen, & Sears, ). A facilitory BOI effect has been observed with adults in language tasks, with faster and more accurate responses for high BOI words (e.g., mask) than for low BOI words (e.g., ship; Wellsby, Siakaluk, Owen, & Pexman, ). We examined the development of this effect in children. Fifty children (aged 6-9 years) and a group of 21 adults completed a word naming task with high and low BOI words. Younger children (aged 6-7 years) did not show a BOI effect, but older children (aged 8-9 years) showed a significant facilitory BOI effect, as did adults. Magnitude of children's BOI effect was related to age as well as reading skills. These results suggest that bodily experience (as measured by the BOI variable) begins to influence visual word recognition behavior by about 8 years of age.


Body-object interaction; Embodiment; Emerging readers; Language development; Word reading

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