Does Object Size Matter with Regard to the Mental Simulation of Object Orientation?


Language comprehenders have been argued to mentally represent the implied orientation of objects. However, compared to the effects of shape, size, and color, the effect of orientation is rather small. We examined a potential explanation for the relatively low magnitude of the orientation effect: object size moderates the orientation effect. Theoretical considerations led us to predict a smaller orientation effect for small objects than for large objects in a sentence-picture verification task. We furthermore investigated whether this pattern generalizes across languages (Chinese, Dutch, and English) and tasks (picture- naming task). The results of the verification task show an orientation effect overall, which is not moderated by object size (contrary to our hypothesis) and language (consistent with our hypothesis). Meanwhile the preregistered picture-picture verification task showed the predicted interaction between object size and orientation effect. We conducted exploratory analyses to address additional questions.

Experimental Psychology

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