Date of Award

10-19-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Buchanan, Lori

Keywords

Depth of processing, Embodied cognition, Iconicity, Lexical co-occurrence, Semantic neighbour, Symbol Interdependency

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

According to the symbolic representation account, word meaning can be sufficiently captured by lexical co-occurrence models (Markman & Dietrich, 2000). In contrast, the embodied cognition account maintains that words are understood via simulated perceptual experiences (Barsalou, 1999). The Symbol Interdependency Hypothesis reconciles these different approaches by proposing that we use symbolic representation most of the time and embodied approaches when deeper processing is required (Louwerse, 2007). To test this hypothesis, a series of experiments manipulated symbolic and embodied factors in shallow and deep processing tasks. Concreteness was also manipulated because it is thought to interact with depth of processing. Overall, results support the Symbol Interdependency Hypothesis. Reaction times were shorter for shallow processing tasks, close semantic neighbours, and iconic word pairs. Moreover, only the embodied factor, and not the symbolic factor, played a role in the deep processing task.

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