Eye Movements Reveal the Dynamic Simulation of Speed in Language



This study investigates how speed of motion is processed in language. In three eye-tracking experiments, participants were presented with visual scenes and spoken sentences describing fast or slow events (e.g., The lion ambled/dashed to the balloon). Results showed that looking time to relevant objects in the visual scene was affected by the speed of verb of the sentence, speaking rate, and configuration of a supporting visual scene. The results provide novel evidence for the mental simulation of speed in language and show that internal dynamic simulations can be played out via eye movements toward a static visual scene.