Centrum för kognitiv semiotik (CCS)

Humanistiska och teologiska fakulteterna | Lunds universitet

Color Representation in Chinese Sentence Comprehension

Huuli Wang

Institute for Language and Cognition
School of Foreign Languages
Dalian University of Technology
A growing body of research in psychology, psycholinguistics and cognitive neuroscience has posed a challenge to the traditional view of language comprehension by proposing that cognitive states are closely related to perception and action. Such “embodied simulation” accounts hold that people activate and manipulate “perceptual symbols” (Barsalou 1999) during language comprehension even when the perceptual characteristics are merely implied rather than explicitly stated. Numerous empirical studies have emerged in support of this. However, color, as a key aspect of perceptual information has not gained the same attention as other visual object attributes, such as shape, orientation and motion. In addition, most research in this field is limited to English and other Indo-European languages, whereas Mandarin Chines has phonetic and ideographic characteristics that make it potentially distinct. My presentation aims to investigate whether implicit perceptual information of object's color is represented during sentence comprehension in Mandarin Chinese. The main methodology used is the compatibility effect. After reading a sentence that implied a particular color for a given object, participants were presented with an image of the object that either matched or mismatched the implied color. They judged whether the object had been mentioned in the proceeding sentence. The findings were a significant difference on response latency between in matched and mismatched condition, which is consistent with the embodied rather than the amodal view of language comprehension.