Estimating Emotions Through Language Statistics and Embodied Cognition

Richard Tillman, Max Louwerse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-167
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • Adult
  • Cognition/physiology
  • Comprehension/physiology
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Reaction Time/physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Estimating Emotions Through Language Statistics and Embodied Cognition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this