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It has been shown that readers comprehend stories through mental simulation of characters’ experiences and, in some cases, the embodiment of characters’ actions and perceptions. Reading about a story character’s movement leads readers to mentally simulate the same movement. For example, research by Dils and Boroditsky (2010) has suggested that readers' perception of the orientation of ambiguous images was influenced by the direction story characters travelled. In the current experiment, participants will read a story describing a character watching a glass elevator moving either up or down. The story will be presented on a computer monitor, with the first line being presented at the bottom of the screen and each successive line appearing above the last. In other words, reading will be from bottom to top. Reading times will be recorded. If the movement of story characters is simulated by readers then reading times should be faster when the elevator is described as moving upward rather than downward. In the upward condition, the movement described in the story is congruent with reading direction, facilitating comprehension.



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Ups and Downs: Readers’ Simulation of a Story Character’s Movement