Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

L. Buchanan

Second Advisor

M. Freeman

Third Advisor

P. Fritz


Cognitive psychology, Language, Meaning, Mental lexicon, Semantic neighborhood density, Semantic richness



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The current study operationally defined semantic richness as the depth and breadth of meaning associated with words. It also examined the relationship between known language variables and their relative contribution to semantic richness as a construct. A total of 60,000 subjective word ratings were explicitly collected from adult participants across 39 different countries who identified as speaking English as a first language. These ratings were compared to other known language variables to investigate the individual and collective relationships among them and determined their predictive influence on the collected ratings. It was found that although most variables were significantly related to the collected ratings and to other variables, together, 5 language metrics combined were significantly influential in predicting the variance in semantic richness, with sensorimotor contributing the most weight, followed by emotional arousal, body-object interaction, emotional valence, and association types. The findings from this study aim to bring awareness to the importance of using a scientific framework to understand the underlying components of semantic processing in order to better inform language interventions.