The role of body–object interaction in children’s concept processing: Insights from two Chinese communities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

A rating of body–object interactions (BOIs) reflects the ease with which a human body can interact physically with a word’s referent. Studies with adults have demonstrated a facilitating BOI effect in language tasks, with faster and more accurate responses for high BOI words (e.g., cup) than low BOI words (e.g., coal). A few studies have explored the BOI effect in children. However, these studies have all adopted adult-rated BOIs, which may differ from children’s. Using child-rated BOIs, the present study investigated the BOI effect in Chinese children and its relationship with age, as well as whether there was a community difference in the BOI effect. Children (aged 7–8) from Mainland China (N = 100) and Hong Kong SAR (HK; N = 90) completed a lexical decision task used to measure the BOI effect. The children were asked to judge whether each item was a real Chinese word; each real word was assigned a child-rated BOI score. After controlling nonverbal intelligence, gender, working memory, and Chinese character reading, a significant BOI effect was observed at the response accuracy and speed levels. The accuracy and latency analyses illustrated a community difference; the BOI effect was smaller in the HK children. This study suggests that BOI measures may be sensitive to the ecological differences between tested communities. The findings support the need for further investigations into the BOI effect across Chinese communities, particularly those in Mainland China. Copyright © 2024 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
JournalCognitive Processing
Early online dateApr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 2024

Citation

Xu, Z., & Liu, D. (2024). The role of body–object interaction in children’s concept processing: Insights from two Chinese communities. Cognitive Processing. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10339-024-01185-1

Keywords

  • Community difference
  • Concept processing
  • Sensorimotor representations
  • Word recognition

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