Grammatical categories represent implicit knowledge, and it is not known if such abstract linguistic knowledge can be continuously grounded in real‐life experiences, nor is it known what types of mental states can be simulated. A former study showed that attention bias in peripersonal space (PPS) affects reaction times in grammatical congruency judgments of nominal classifiers, suggesting that simulated semantics may include reenactment of attention. In this study, we contrasted a Chinese nominal classifier used with nouns denoting pinch grip objects with a classifier for nouns with big object referents in a pupil dilation experiment. Twenty Chinese native speakers read grammatical and ungrammatical classifier‐noun combinations and made grammaticality judgment while their pupillary responses were measured. It was found that their pupils dilated significantly more to the pinch grip classifier than to the big object classifier, indicating attention simulation in PPS. Pupil dilations were also significantly larger with congruent trials on the whole than in incongruent trials, but crucially, congruency and classifier semantics were independent of each other. No such effects were found in controls.
Cognitive Science - A Multidisciplinary Journal – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ; ;
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