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Intangible features extraction in the processing of abstract concepts: Evidence from picture-word priming

Abstract : Over the last decade, hypotheses ranging from linguistic symbol processing to embodiment have been formulated to account for the content and mechanisms responsible for the representation of abstract concepts. Results of recent studies have suggested that abstract concepts, just like concrete ones, can benefit from knowledge of real-world situational context, but that they can also be processed based on abstract pictures devoid of such situational features. This paper presents two semantic priming experiments to explore such mechanisms further. The first experiment replicates Kuipers, Jones, and Thierry (2018) in a cross-linguistic setting which shows that abstract concepts can be processed from abstract pictures devoid of tangible features. In the second experiment, we studied extraction mechanisms that come into play when participants are presented with abstract and concrete pictures that provide situational information to illustrate target abstract concepts. We expected this facilitatory effect to be limited to concrete picture primes. Our data analysed with both Bayesian and Frequentist tests showed however that even when presented with tangible situational information, the extraction of features still occurred for abstract pictures. We discuss the implications of this with respect to future avenues for studying the processing of abstract concepts.
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Contributor : Ludovic Ferrand <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 8:36:36 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 1:06:45 PM


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Dounia Lakhzoum, Marie Izaute, Ludovic Ferrand. Intangible features extraction in the processing of abstract concepts: Evidence from picture-word priming. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2021, 16 (5), pp.e0251448. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0251448⟩. ⟨hal-03224636⟩



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