Emotion simulation during language comprehension

David A. Havas, Arthur M. Glenberg, Mike Rinck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


We report a novel finding on the relation of emotion and language. Covert manipulation of emotional facial posture interacts with sentence valence when measuring the amount of time to judge valence (Experiment 1) and sensibility (Experiment 2) of the sentence. In each case, an emotion-sentence compatibility effect is found: Judgment times are faster when facial posture and sentence valence match than when they mismatch. We interpret the finding using a simulation account; that is, emotional systems contribute to language comprehension much as they do in social interaction. Because the effect was not observed on a lexical decision task using emotion-laden words (Experiment 3), we suggest that the emotion simulation affects comprehension processes beyond initial lexical access.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-441
Number of pages6
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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