Informations and abstract
Keywords: head nod, head shake, embodiment, compatibility, truth-value, preferences.
Research from the embodiment perspective shows that not only language understanding but also other higher cognitive processes, such as judgment and evaluation, can be based on sensori-motor experiences. Studies that have reached this conclusion have found effects of compatibility between the evaluation of concrete or abstract, positive or negative, linguistic expressions, and the movement of various parts of the body. The present study examines motor compatibility effects between nodding and shaking gestures and the evaluation of the truth value of sentences expressing subjective preferences. This test was made possible by an experimental design that allowed to control objects on the computer screen directly with head movements. Lower response times resulted when sentences evaluated as true were compatible with the vertical head motion of nodding, and those evaluated as false were compatible with the horizontal motion of shaking the head. This pattern, found with subjectively evaluable expressions, confirms previous results obtained with the same movements of the head and the evaluation of objectively true or false sentences. Possible explanations of the relation-ship between these two types of assessment and the gestures of the head are discussed, with particular reference to social and cultural factors and to some critical aspects presented by this perspective.