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Adopting an approach/avoidance behavior is a response closely linked to our sensorimotor experience and is therefore a good example of the grounded nature of cognition. The first tasks designed to measure approach/avoidance tendencies sought to reproduce the motor experience by focusing on arm movements and reported approach/avoidance compatibility effects. These effects were seen as evidence in favor of grounded cognition. Then, the superiority of tasks not relying theoretically on sensorimotor characteristics, the ambiguity of arm movements regarding approach/avoidance, and even replication failures have led the literature to somewhat abandon the grounded cognition account of approach/avoidance effects. However, the grounded cognition approach is not limited to motor aspects. Recently, our research team reevaluated the merits of the grounded approach in the study of approach/avoidance tendencies by going back to the core of the grounded cognition models’ principles. More precisely, based on a multi-trace memory model of grounded cognition, more specifically the Act-In model, we hypothesized that the most prototypical sensorimotor information of approach/avoidance was, on the one hand, not motor but visual and concerned, on the other hand, whole-body movements and not only flexion/extension arm movements. Therefore, we created a new task based on the visual information associated with whole-body approach/avoidance movements. This task allowed us to observe large and replicable approach/avoidance effects. This line of research illustrates that relying on a memory model of grounded cognition can enable the formulation of clear hypotheses and the design of robust paradigms.
Pour citer cet article :Julliard Yoann, Rougier Marine, Muller Dominique (2021/1). Perspective of Grounded Cognition in the Study of Approach/ Avoidance Tendencies. In Versace Rémy (Eds), Memory and Cognition: How is the Meaning of the World Constructed Through our Interactions with the Environment? Intellectica, 74, (pp.125-139), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2021.1988.