ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (8): 995-1003.

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Dynamic Simulation of Emotion in Language Comprehension

LU Zhong-Yi;BA Xiao-Na;LI Xing-Fen   

  1. (1 College of Education, Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang 050091, China)
    (2 Huihua College of Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang 050091, China)
    (3 Hebei College of Science and Technology, Baoding 071000, China)
  • Received:2011-11-18 Revised:1900-01-01 Published:2012-08-28 Online:2012-08-28
  • Contact: LU Zhong-Yi

Abstract: The major view of Barsalou’s perceptual symbol system, a new theory about knowledge representation, is that perceptual symbol is a component of cognition. Up till now, the theory has been put into wide application and obtained much support in experimental studies of language comprehension. Based on this theory, Zwaan proposed the Immersed Experiencer Frame (IEF), which assumed that the comprehender was an immersed experiencer of the described situation and comprehension was the vicarious experience of the described events. Hence, dynamic mental representation of human emotion can be seen as a result of tracing and simulating the emotional experience on the basis of reading comprehension.
This research adopted mixed experimental design and sentence–pictures match paradigm. It used such sentences containing static and dynamic emotional information as experimental materials. The response latency of picture judgment was collected as the dependent variable. Different settings of temporal intervals and experimental procedures were employed to explore the participants’ mental representation and time proceedings for comprehension of static and dynamic emotions progression. The research results suggest (1) Participants are able to mentally simulate the emotional information during language comprehension, and emotional context will highly activate their experiential simulation. (2)The representation for static emotion can be finished at the earlier period of language comprehension. Once formed, it becomes highly stable and enduring. (3) Participants are able to mentally simulate the dynamic emotion, which takes a greater amount of time and is finished at the later period of comprehension. The representation for the sentences involving emotional alternations is influenced by the former emotional state. To be more specific, participants will stick to the previous negative emotion and it is not easy for them to represent the positive emotion when reading the sentences involving a transformation from the negative emotional state to the positive state.

Key words: language comprehension, embodied cognition, perceptual symbol system, emotion simulation, dynamic simulation