The Effects of Mental Imagery and Embodied Action on L2 Word Learning

Abstract

Previous research has provided evidence that mental imagery and embodied action can facilitate word learning in a novel language. However, it is unclear how these factors interact—as well as why they play a role—in word learning. Through a set of four experiments, this research demonstrated that neither mental imagery nor embodied action directly promotes the acquisition of second language (L2) words by adult learners. Notably, both passive viewing of images and gestures, as well as active engagement in mental imagery and gesture enactment, were insufficient to enhance L2 word learning. These results suggest that adults are effective L2 word learners, and that, because of this, embodied action does not play an essential role in supporting L2 lexical acquisition.


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