A test of motor skill-specific action embodiment in ice-hockey players

Nicole T. Ong, Keith R. Lohse, Romeo Chua, Scott Sinnett, Nicola J. Hodges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


To further our understanding of the role of the motor system in comprehending action-related sentences, we compared action experts (athletes) to visual experts (fans) and novices when responding with an action-specific effector (either hand or foot). These conditions allowed inferences about the degree and specificity of embodiment in language comprehension. Ice hockey players, fans and novices made speeded judgments regarding the congruence between an auditorily presented sentence and a subsequently presented picture. Picture stimuli consisted of either hockey or everyday items. Half of these pictures 'matched' the action implied in the preceding sentence. Further, the action in these images involved either primarily the hand or the foot. For everyday items, action-matched items were responded to faster than action-mismatched items. However, only the players and fans showed the action-match effect for hockey items. There were no consistent effector-stimuli compatibility effects, nor skill-based interactions with compatibility, suggesting that the action-match effect was not based on motor ability per se, but rather a construction of the action based on knowledge or visual experience with the hockey related sentences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-68
Number of pages8
JournalActa Psychologica
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Action embodiment
  • Action simulation
  • Imagery
  • Observation
  • Sport expertise


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