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Effects of iconicity in lexical decision

Sidhu, DM; Vigliocco, G; Pexman, PM; (2019) Effects of iconicity in lexical decision. Language and Cognition 10.1017/langcog.2019.36. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

In contrast to arbitrariness, a recent perspective is that words contain both arbitrary and iconic aspects. We investigated iconicity in word recognition, and the possibility that iconic words have special links between phonological and semantic features that may facilitate their processing. In Experiment 1, participants completed a lexical decision task (“Is this letter string a word?”) including words varying in their iconicity. Notably, we manipulated stimulus presentation conditions such that the items were visually degraded for half of the participants; this manipulation has been shown to increase reliance on phonology. Responses to words higher in iconicity were faster and more accurate, but this did not interact with condition. In Experiment 2 we explicitly directed participants’ attention to phonology by using a phonological lexical decision task (“Does this letter string sound like a word?”). Responses to words that were higher in iconicity were once again faster. These results demonstrate facilitatory effects of iconicity in lexical processing, thus showing that the benefits of iconic mappings extend beyond those reported for language learning and those argued for language evolution.

Type: Article
Title: Effects of iconicity in lexical decision
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/langcog.2019.36
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/langcog.2019.36
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: iconicity, word recognition, sound symbolism, lexical decision
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10088063
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