Date of Award

8-31-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Buchanan, Lori

Keywords

abstractness, concreteness, iconicity, N400, N700, semantic neighbours

Rights

CC-BY-NC-ND

Abstract

Malhi (2015) found a reverse concreteness, or abstractness, effect for word pairs in an iconicity judgment task. Per Vigliocco et al.’s (2009) theory of embodied abstract semantics, Malhi and Buchanan (2017) hypothesized that participants were taking a visualization approach (time-costly) towards the concrete word pairs and an emotional valence approach (time-efficient) towards the abstract word pairs. It was also hypothesized that the abstractness effect emerged not by considering single words in isolation but rather by considering the relationship between them. The goal of the present study was to test these hypotheses and to further investigate this reverse concreteness, or abstractness, effect. Results generally provided support for these hypotheses. An event-related potential (ERP) experiment revealed a dissociation between behavioural abstractness and neural concreteness. The results are interpreted using a proposed theory of flexible abstractness and concreteness effects (FACE).

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