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Abstract, concrete and emotional words in the mental lexicon: A coding scheme for analyzing verbal descriptions of word meanings
Lund University.
Lund University.
Lund University.
Malmö University Hospital.
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2011 (English)In: The Third Conference of the Scandinavian Association for Language and Cognition, SALC III: Copenhagen, June 14 - 16th 2011, Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen , 2011, p. 86-87Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Previous research has suggested that abstract and concrete semantics are processed and conceptualized differently (Pulvermüller 1999, Crutch & Warrington 2005; Fuster 2009). Specifically, concrete semantics is assumed to be processed by posterior, sensory brain areas, as opposed to an anterior processing of abstract semantic information. In addition, other researchers raise the question whether emotional words should be included in the abstract category (Altarriba & Bauer 2004, Kousta et al. 2009).

Following this, the present study proposes a method for analyzing spontaneous discourse produced by aphasic and healthy subjects describing the meanings of abstract, concrete, and emotional words. Linguistic data related to word meanings were obtained by asking subjects to describe the meanings of nouns varying in concreteness and emotional arousal freely and as detailed as possible, a method based on Barsalou & Wiemer-Hastings (2005). Subjects with anterior/posterior lesions and healthy controls were hypothesized to differ in their retrieval and verbalization of semantic information related to the cue words, with posterior lesions affecting concrete semantic features and anterior lesions affecting higher levels of abstraction and structuring of information. Emotional information, partly processed by subcortical structures, was expected to be well-preserved despite cortical lesions.

A coding scheme was developed in order to capture semantic and structural information in the transcribed material, taking the following factors into account:

  • Type of information in an utterance: general/personal:episodic/personal:evaluative/procedural cues
  • Clauses: main/subordinate
  • Relation between produced content word and cue word: contextual/ property-based
  • Semantic information of produced content words: abstract/ concrete/emotional
  • Whether the topic is maintained
  • Whether the information is semantically acceptable

The proposed coding scheme makes it possible to investigate how different brain lesions affect retrieval and expression of semantic information with differing degrees of abstractness.

Altarriba, J. & Bauer, L.M. (2004). The distinctiveness of emotion concepts: A comparison between emotion, abstract, and concrete words. The American Journal of Psychology 117(3), 389-410.

Barsalou, L.W. & Wiemer-Hastings, K. (2005). Situating Abstract Concepts. In Grounding Cognition: The Role of Perception and Action in Memory, Language, and Thinking. Pecher, D. & Zwaan, R.A.(Eds). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crutch, S.J. & Warrington, E.K. (2005). Abstract and concrete concepts have structurally different representational frameworks. Brain 128, 615-627.

Fuster, J. (2009) Cortex and memory: Emergence of a new paradigm. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 21,11, 2047-2072.

Kousta, S-T., Vigliocco, G., Vinson, D.P Andrews, M. (2009). Happiness is... an abstract word. The role of affect in abstract knowledge representation. In N.A. Taatgen & H. van Rijn (Eds.), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 1115-1120. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Pulvermüller, F. (1999). Words in the brain's language. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22, 253-336.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen , 2011. p. 86-87
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Humanities, Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-78154OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-78154DiVA, id: diva2:1279712
Conference
The Third Conference of the Scandinavian Association for Language and Cognition, SALC III : Copenhagen, June 14 - 16th 2011
Available from: 2019-01-17 Created: 2019-01-17 Last updated: 2019-02-04Bibliographically approved

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Mårtensson, Frida

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
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More styles
Language
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  • en-GB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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