Differences related to aging in sensorimotor knowledge: Investigation of perceptual strength and body object interaction


Embodied approach postulates that knowledge and conceptual representations are grounded in action and perception. In order to investigate the involvement of sensorimotor information in conceptual and cognitive processing, researchers have collected various norms in young adults. For instance, the perceptual strength (PS) assesses perceptual experience (i.e. visual, auditory, haptic, gustatory, olfactory) associated with a concept and the body-object-interaction (BOI) assesses the ease with which a human body can interact with the referent of a word. The importance of both BOI and PS in the multimodal composition of word meaning is today well recognized. However, given the sensorimotor development of the individual from childhood to later life, it is likely that different age periods are associated with different perceptual experience and capacity to interact with objects. The purpose of this research is to investigate exploratory the effect of age on PS and BOI by comparing the evaluation of 270 French language words by young adults and healthy older people. The results showed that older adults presented similar or even higher PS for some modalities (e.g. gustatory and olfactory) and in particular for certain categories of words, while the BOI decreases. In addition to the importance of adjusting the verbal stimuli used in aging studies when dealing with multimodal representations, our results will lead us to discuss the evolution of sensorimotor representations with age.

Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 102, 104715