Recent research has suggested that language processing activates perceptual simulations. We have demonstrated that findings that have been attributed to an embodied cognition account can also be explained by language statistics, because language encodes perceptual information. We investigated whether comprehension of emotion words can be explained by an embodied cognition or a language statistics account. A corpus linguistic study comparing emotions words showed that words denoting the same emotions (happy-delighted) co-occur more frequently than different emotions (happy-angry). These findings were used in two experiments in which participants read same-emotion and different-emotion sentence pairs. Sentence pairs with different emotions yielded longer RTs than sentences with the same emotions both in a cognitive task tailored toward linguistic representations and a task tailored toward embodied representations. These findings contribute to a growing body of literature that demonstrates that language processing does not always rely solely on perceptual simulation.
- Reaction Time/physiology