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Abstract nouns: Imagery versus lexical complexity

Authors
Journal
Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior
0022-5371
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
11
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0022-5371(72)80060-4
Disciplines
  • Psychology

Abstract

Four types of nouns were used as stimuli in a paired-associate learning experiment: low-imagery nouns that correspond to simple lexical entries (e.g., soul) and low-imagery nouns that may be derived from more basic lexical entries (e.g., explanation); high-imagery nouns that correspond to simple lexical entries (e.g., comrade), and high-imagery nouns that are derived lexically (e.g., speaker). Both low imagery and lexical complexity significantly retarded paired-associate learning. The frequency with which words are used was shown to be important, in that some high-frequency words that may be derived lexically were nevertheless treated like simple lexical entries. It was argued that lexical derivations are interesting psychological processes which must not be confused with abstractness.

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