Embodied language: a review of the role of the motor system in language comprehension

Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2008 Jun;61(6):825-50. doi: 10.1080/17470210701623605.


A growing body of research suggests that comprehending verbal descriptions of actions relies on an internal simulation of the described action. To assess this motor resonance account of language comprehension, we first review recent developments in the literature on perception and action, with a view towards language processing. We then examine studies of language processing from an action simulation perspective. We conclude by discussing several criteria that might be helpful with regard to assessing the role of motor resonance during language comprehension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology
  • Awareness / physiology
  • Comprehension* / physiology
  • Concept Formation / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Humans
  • Imagination* / physiology
  • Motion Perception* / physiology
  • Motor Activity* / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Phonetics
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Semantics
  • Speech Perception* / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology