Word concepts are known to modulate sensori-motor responses, but it is less understood how sensori-motor actions influence access to word concepts in memory. This phenomenon will be explored in "The 'Crossword Effect' in Free Word Recall: A Retrieval Advantage for Words Encoded in Line with their Spatial Associations", an invited talk by Christoph Scheepers of the University of Glasgow. The talk is part of OFAI's 2023 Lecture Series.
Members of the public are cordially invited to attend the talk via Zoom on Wednesday, 12 April 2023 at 18:30 CEST (UTC+2):
Meeting ID: 842 8244 2460
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Talk abstract: According to the perceptual symbol hypothesis (Barsalou, 1999), word concepts trigger mental re-enactments of perceptual states and actions. While many studies have shown how word concepts modulate sensori-motor responses, it is less well known how sensori-motor actions influence access to word concepts in memory. Here, we investigated how well English words with strong horizontal or vertical associations are retrieved from memory dependent on how they are presented during encoding (i.e., horizontally or vertically printed). Initial pre-testing of 129 candidate words yielded 43 words with a strong horizontal association (e.g., floor, beach, border, etc.) and 51 words with a strong vertical association (e.g., tree, crane, bottle, etc.). These were quasi-randomly compiled into 160 ‘crossword arrays’, each containing 5 horizontally and 5 vertically printed items drawn from the horizontal association word set, as well as 5 horizontally and 5 vertically printed items drawn from the vertical association word set. The main experiment (160 participants) was preregistered on OSF and was introduced to participants as “testing how word arrangements affect subsequent mathematical problem solving”. There were three experimental phases: (1) in the encoding phase, each participant studied a uniquely generated crossword array for ca. 2 minutes; (2) in the following distractor phase, they had to solve simple mathematical equations for 1 minute; (3) in the final (surprize) free recall phase, they were asked to write down as many words as they could remember from the encoding phase. Dependent variables were likelihood of correctly recalled words and retrieval ranks of correctly recalled words in the recall list. Results showed no appreciable effects in retrieval rank, but a clear interaction (p < .001) between word association and word presentation in the likelihood of correct word recall: vertical association words, in particular, were reliably more likely to be recalled correctly when they were presented vertically (i.e., in line with their spatial association) than when they were presented horizontally during encoding. Implications for the perceptual symbol hypothesis will be discussed.
Speaker biography: Christoph Scheepers studied Psychology, Linguistics, and Computer Science at the Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, graduating in 1991 (Diplom in Psychology). He completed his PhD at the University of Freiburg in 1997, was Post Doc in Glasgow (working with Martin Pickering and Simon Garrod) until 2000, Post-Doctoral RA in Computational Linguistics at Saarland University (2000-2003), and lecturer in Psychology at the University of Dundee (2003-2005). Since 2005, he is Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow. He research interests are in Psycholinguistics / Psychology of Language, syntax / sentence processing, embodied cognition, bilingualism, statistical modelling. and eye-tracking.
Slides: The “Crossword Effect” in Free Word Recall: A Retrieval Advantage for Words Encoded in Line with their Spatial Associations (PDF)