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The shape of words in the brain

Kovic, Vanja and Plunkett, Kim and Westermann, Gert (2010) The shape of words in the brain. Cognition, 114 (1). pp. 19-28. ISSN 0010-0277

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Abstract

The principle of arbitrariness in language assumes that there is no intrinsic relationship between linguistic signs and their referents. However, a growing body of sound-symbolism research suggests the existence of some naturally-biased mappings between phonological properties of labels and perceptual properties of their referents (Maurer, Pathman, & Mondloch, 2006). We present new behavioural and neurophysiological evidence for the psychological reality of sound-symbolism. In a categorisation task that captures the processes involved in natural language interpretation, participants were faster to identify novel objects when label-object mappings were sound-symbolic than when they were not. Moreover, early negative EEG-waveforms indicated a sensitivity to sound-symbolic label-object associations (within 200 ms of object presentation), highlighting the non-arbitrary relation between the objects and the labels used to name them. This sensitivity to sound-symbolic label-object associations may reflect a more general process of auditory-visual feature integration where properties of auditory stimuli facilitate a mapping to specific visual features. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Cognition
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sound-symbolism ; Categorisation ; ERP ; Labels ; Pictures ; Associations ; OBJECT RECOGNITION ; PHONETIC SYMBOLISM ; SELECTIVE ATTENTION ; SOUND ; POTENTIALS ; HUMANS ; COMPREHENSION ; PERCEPTION
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments:
ID Code: 50882
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 08 Nov 2011 12:13
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2014 14:55
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/50882

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