Is semantic processing impaired near the hands?

Giordana Grossi, Annie J. Olmstead, Sarah Stoudt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In a sentence decision task, Davoli et al. (2010) found that the semantic analysis of sentences differed depending on whether the participants' hands were close to or far from the computer screen. According to the authors, the findings reflected an impoverishment of semantic processing near the hands. In the current study, we examine this explanation by asking whether hand position affects 1) other aspects of sentence processing, such as syntactic analysis, 2) semantic processing at the individual word level, and 3) performance in a picture naming task that requires access to meaning. In Experiment 1, participants judged the acceptability of sentences, half of which included semantic or syntactic violations. In Experiment 2, only semantically acceptable or nonacceptable sentences were presented. In Experiment 3, participants performed a go/nogo semantic categorization task on individual words. In Experiment 4, participants performed a picture naming task. Participants performed these tasks both with their hands near to and far from the computer screen. Regardless of the task, we found no evidence of impoverished semantic processing near the hands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103443
JournalActa Psychologica
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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