An experimental view of language comprehension
Some implications for document design
The consensus view in cognitive psychology is that the construction of situation models is an integral part of language comprehension. A great deal of empirical evidence supports this view. Moreover, recent theorizing and empirical evidence suggest that situation models are best viewed as experiential simulations of the narrated events, actions, people, objects, and places. In this Experiential View, language is a set of cues guiding the simulation processes, by activating perceptual representations stored in the brain areas that are also active during the direct experience of the referent object, person, or event. In this article I discuss the empirical evidence for the Experiential view from cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In addition, I consider some of the implications of this view for the design of instructional documents.
Keywords: document design, embodied cognition, situation models, Language comprehension
Published online: 25 March 2002