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Effects of relative embodiment in lexical and semantic processing of verbs.

Authors
  • Sidhu, David M1
  • Kwan, Rachel1
  • Pexman, Penny M2
  • Siakaluk, Paul D3
  • 1 Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N1N4, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 2 Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N1N4, Canada. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Canada)
  • 3 Department of Psychology, University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Prince George, BC V2N4Z9, Canada. , (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Acta psychologica
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2014
Volume
149
Pages
32–39
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2014.02.009
PMID: 24657828
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Research examining semantic richness effects in visual word recognition has shown that multiple dimensions of meaning are activated in the process of word recognition (e.g., Yap et al., 2012). This research has, however, been limited to nouns. In the present research we extended the semantic richness approach to verb stimuli in order to investigate how verb meanings are represented. We characterized a dimension of relative embodiment for verbs, based on the bodily sense described by Borghi and Cimatti (2010), and collected ratings on that dimension for 687 English verbs. The relative embodiment ratings revealed that bodily experience was judged to be more important to the meanings of some verbs (e.g., dance, breathe) than to others (e.g., evaporate, expect). We then tested the effects of relative embodiment and imageability on verb processing in lexical decision (Experiment 1), action picture naming (Experiment 2), and syntactic classification (Experiment 3). In all three experiments results showed facilitatory effects of relative embodiment, but not imageability: latencies were faster for relatively more embodied verbs, even after several other lexical variables were controlled. The results suggest that relative embodiment is an important aspect of verb meaning, and that the semantic richness approach holds promise as a strategy for investigating other aspects of verb meaning.

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