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10-08-2020 | Original Article

Heterogenous abstract concepts: is “ponder” different from “dissolve”?

Auteurs: Emiko J. Muraki, David M. Sidhu, Penny M. Pexman

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 8/2022

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Abstract

Abstract words have usually been treated as a homogenous group, with limited investigation of the influence of different underlying representational systems for these words. In the present study we examined lexical–semantic processing of abstract verbs, separating them into mental state, emotional state and nonembodied state types. We used a syntactic classification task and a memory task to investigate behavioural differences amongst the abstract verb types. Semantic richness effects of each of the verbs' associates were then investigated to determine the relationship of linguistic associations to semantic processing response times for abstract verbs. We found a modest effect of abstract verb type, with mental state abstract verbs processed more quickly than nonembodied abstract verbs in the syntactic classification task; however, this effect was task dependent. We also found that memory was less accurate for the mental state abstract verbs. The semantic richness analysis of abstract verb associates revealed (1) that the concreteness of an abstract verb’s associates has a positive relationship to the verb’s response time and (2) a negative relationship between response time and age of acquisition for associates of nonembodied verbs. The results provide support for the proposal that abstract concepts engage complex representations in modal and linguistic systems.
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1
The response time data from Experiments 1–3 exhibited a positive skew. Supplementary analyses using a log-transformed response time for all mixed effect models reported here found that all significant fixed effects remained when using the log-transformed response time, with the exception of the significant difference between nonembodied abstract verbs and embodied verbs reported for Experiment 2. This effect was also not present in Experiment 1, which likely indicates this is not a strong or reliable effect as discussed in the discussion section.
 
2
Mixed effect models were also conducted using the response data for the Experiment 2 encoding task and the SCT from Experiment 3. Those results are consistent with the AoA and concreteness effects reported here. The frequency of associates effect from Experiment 1 was not replicated in the data from Experiment 2 or 3.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Heterogenous abstract concepts: is “ponder” different from “dissolve”?
Auteurs
Emiko J. Muraki
David M. Sidhu
Penny M. Pexman
Publicatiedatum
10-08-2020
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 8/2022
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01398-x

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