Responds to three (3) other learners by asking critical, open-ended questions and/or providing additional examples/sources demonstrating understanding and application of the discussion topic. Learner 1: (Jamie) Speech production and behavior are two actions that go hand-in-hand. The way in which we behave in our surroundings directly influences our cognitive representation of that environment. That representation then influences the way speech is produced in order to describe, represent, and verbalize said experience. Not only do our behavioral experiences shape speech production, but physiological processes play a role too. Casasanto (2011) states that the cognitive processes involved in speech production are directly affected by physical actions. This is known as the body-specificity hypothesis. Casasanto (2011) illustrates this occurrence using fMRI imaging in a series of tests. Right-hand dominant and left-hand dominant people were both asked to imagine actions involving their dominant hands. They were also asked to read action-verb words. fMRI results showed that brain activity for both groups were specific to their respective areas of the brain. It is also important to note that language can have an equally influential role on cognition and behavior. In a study by Matsuki et al (2011), it is shown that subjects in a self-paced reading task read patient nouns faster when they were coupled with an instrument-action pair. The results of this study also showed the implications of speech production on event-based expectations and comprehension. On a rudimentary level, it seems to go without saying that action and language production have an important connection, although the true dynamics of their relationship are much more in-depth. These articles show both the neurological, physiological, and cognitive roles that bodily action and speech production play on each other. Learner 2: (Kristina) Language has the capacity to greatly influence our actions in such discrete ways, the subject of influence often is blind to the persuasion. According to an article by Daniel Casasanto (2011), when looking at U.S. presidential candidates, negative speech was correlated with more left-hand gestures made by the candidates as opposed to positive speech associated with right hand gestures. This article went on to describe that left-handed individuals typically respond differently than right handed individuals in certain situations, right handers prefer the object on their right side and just the opposite for left handers. This behavior is displayed in children as young as 5, showing environment has little affect. Furthermore, when participants were studied using fMRI and were asking to simply imagine actions being preformed with either hand, the opposite side of their brains showed activation. According to the article by Matsuki et. Al. (2011), when participants were presented with a verb typical to the subject as opposed to atypical they processed the information slightly faster with less gazing. It took less time for participants to process the phrase, cut the carrot as opposed to, inflate the carrot, which is due to plausibility (Matsuki et. Al., 2011). This has the potential to influence our actions because it uses peoples knowledge of common events to determine plausible verses implausible. Culturally and linguistically, what is plausible for some is not for others. Take for example, traditional English speakers, they refer to the trunks of their cars as boots. Learner 3: (Zakiyyah) Different Bodies, Different Minds: The Body Specificity of Language and Thought
After reading both articles, I have gained an understanding of how language affects our actions. As stated in Different Bodies, Different Minds: The Body Specificity of Language and Thought, our actions are affected by language in that the connection we have to words and their meaning influence how our bodies react and move. This association is evident in positive and negative idioms like my right-hand and two left feet, and in the meanings of English words derived from Latin for right (dexter) and left (sinister) (Casasanto, 2011) is an example of how common and loosely this correlation is expressed.
Additionally, When right-handers read words for hand actions, they activated the left premotor cortex, an area used in planning actions with the right hand. Left -handers showed the opposite pattern, activating right premotor areas used for planning left-hand actions (cited in Willems, Hagoort, & Casasanto, 2010) (Casasanto, 2011). This was true even though they were not asked to imagine performing the actions and fMRI experiments confirmed that activation during action-verb reading was not due to conscious imagery of actions (cited in Willems, Toni, Hagoort, & Casasanto, 2010) (Casasanto, 2011). In other words, action verbs caused either the left or right hand, whichever is more frequently used, and the corresponding brain hemisphere to function.
Event-based Plausibility Immediately Influences On-line Language Comprehension Lastly, in the 1st experiment which studied patient reading-times when presented with items, the affects of our actions are further explained. Patients that were typical of the event denoted by instruments and verbs matched the context, and thus were processed faster than those that are atypical (Matsuki, et al, 2011). Meaning, patients who were familiar with an event and therefore the terminology associated with that event found verbal connections to that event and exhibited expeditious reaction times compared to patients who were presented with nouns atypical to events. The results strongly suggest that experiential event knowledge is the source of the observed effects (Matsuki, et al, 2011).
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