Modality switch effects emerge early and increase throughout conceptual processing: Evidence from ERPs

Research has extensively investigated whether conceptual processing is modality-specific—that is, whether meaning is processed to a large extent on the basis of perceptual and motor affordances (Barsalou, 2016). This possibility challenges long-established theories. It suggests a strong link between physical experience and language which is not borne out of the paradigmatic arbitrariness of words (see Lockwood, Dingemanse, & Hagoort, 2016). Modality-specificity also clashes with models of language that have no link to sensory and motor systems (Barsalou, 2016).