Psychological Research

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 20–30 | Cite as

The comprehension of action-related sentences may cause interference rather than facilitation on matching actions

  • Manuel de VegaEmail author
  • Vicente Moreno
  • Dolores Castillo
Original Article


This study used a dual-task paradigm to analyze the time course of motor resonance during the comprehension of action language. In the study, participants read sentences describing a transfer either away from (“I threw the tennis ball to my rival”) or toward themselves (“My rival threw me the tennis ball”). When the transfer verb appeared on the screen, and after a variable stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA), a visual motion cue (Experiment 1) or a static cue (Experiment 2) prompted participants to move their hand either away from or toward themselves to press a button. The results showed meaning–action interference at short SOAs and facilitation at the longest SOA for the matching conditions. These results support the hypothesis that motor processes associated with the comprehension of action-related language interfere with an overlapping motor task, whereas they facilitate a delayed motor task. These effects are discussed in terms of resonance processes in the motor cortex.


Stimulus Onset Asynchrony Motor Response Hand Movement Matching Condition Motor Evoke Potential 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation to Manuel de Vega (Grant SEJ2007-66916/PSIC), as well as by the Canary Agency of Research, Innovation and Information Society (NEUROCOG project) and the European Regional Development Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuel de Vega
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Vicente Moreno
    • 1
  • Dolores Castillo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cognitive PsychologyUniversity of La LagunaLa LagunaSpain
  2. 2.Facultad de PsicologíaUniversidad de La LagunaLa LagunaSpain

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