That's frowned upon

Author: Björn 't Hart
LOT Number: 470
ISBN: 978-94-6093-253-3
Pages: 237
Year: 2017
1st promotor: prof. dr. J. J. A. van Berkum
2nd promotor: dr. M. E. Struiksma
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Using facial EMG to track evaluation and simulation during affective
language processing.

This dissertation investigates the way affectively salient language describing
emotions and emotional events is processed. The main aim in the experiments
presented here is an investigation of the claim made by the theory of grounded
language comprehension regarding the presence of simulation (whether
necessary or epiphenomenal) during (affective) language comprehension. This
is investigated in a narrative context where the characters to whom the affective
language pertains are manipulated to be viewed favourably or unfavourably
by the reader. Through this manipulation, language-driven simulation and
emotional evaluation are contrasted. These processes of simulation and
evaluation are measured through the use of facial electromyography (EMG)
to measure action potentials in the corrugator supercilii, or ‘frowning muscle’.
The main finding in this thesis is that a simulation-only account of corrugator
activity during language processing is untenable. At the same time, the results
also do not support an interpretation of the facial EMG results in terms of only
evaluation. Rather it seems both cognitive processes are active simultaneously
and make their influence felt on the corrugator during online language
comprehension.
This book is of interest to theoretical linguists, as well as experimental
cognitive & psycholinguists working on questions regarding how language
comprehension comes about. At the same time, the work herein should also
be of interest to narrative researchers engaged with questions regarding our
engagement with story characters. More generally, communication & media
and (social) psychology researchers may find this work relevant in relation to
our affective engagement with disliked or immoral people.

Using facial EMG to track evaluation and simulation during affective
language processing.

This dissertation investigates the way affectively salient language describing
emotions and emotional events is processed. The main aim in the experiments
presented here is an investigation of the claim made by the theory of grounded
language comprehension regarding the presence of simulation (whether
necessary or epiphenomenal) during (affective) language comprehension. This
is investigated in a narrative context where the characters to whom the affective
language pertains are manipulated to be viewed favourably or unfavourably
by the reader. Through this manipulation, language-driven simulation and
emotional evaluation are contrasted. These processes of simulation and
evaluation are measured through the use of facial electromyography (EMG)
to measure action potentials in the corrugator supercilii, or ‘frowning muscle’.
The main finding in this thesis is that a simulation-only account of corrugator
activity during language processing is untenable. At the same time, the results
also do not support an interpretation of the facial EMG results in terms of only
evaluation. Rather it seems both cognitive processes are active simultaneously
and make their influence felt on the corrugator during online language
comprehension.
This book is of interest to theoretical linguists, as well as experimental
cognitive & psycholinguists working on questions regarding how language
comprehension comes about. At the same time, the work herein should also
be of interest to narrative researchers engaged with questions regarding our
engagement with story characters. More generally, communication & media
and (social) psychology researchers may find this work relevant in relation to
our affective engagement with disliked or immoral people.

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