Taylor & Francis Group
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Event endings in memory and language

posted on 2021-01-17, 15:40 authored by Miguel Santin, Angeliek van Hout, Monique Flecken

Memory is fundamental for comprehending and segmenting the flow of activity around us into units called “events”. Here, we investigate the effect of the movement dynamics of actions (ceased, ongoing) and the inner structure of events (with or without object-state change) on people's event memory. Furthermore, we investigate how describing events, and the meaning and form of verb predicates used (denoting a culmination moment, or not, in single verbs or verb-satellite constructions), affects event memory. Before taking a surprise recognition task, Spanish and Mandarin speakers (who lexicalise culmination in different verb predicate forms) watched short videos of events, either in a non-verbal (probe-recognition) or a verbal experiment (event description). Results show that culminated events (i.e. ceased change-of-state events) were remembered best across experiments. Language use showed to enhance memory overall. Further, the form of the verb predicates used for denoting culmination had a moderate effect on memory.