Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Round and Sharp Words

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Round and Sharp Words

Article excerpt

LANGUAGE PROCESSING

Kovic et al. (2010). The shape of words in the brain. Cognition, 114, 19.

A fundamental assumption about spoken language is that the sound inventories of spoken words bear little resemblance to their meaning. Although the French chat and the Hawaiian popoki might refer to the same type of creature, the relationship between these collections of sounds and what they mean has been assumed to be essentially arbitrary. Kovic et al. addressed this assumption by examining whether incidental category learning would be affected by soundto- meaning correspondences between category labels and the perceptual features of category members. Subjects learned to associate labels containing "round" sounds (mot and dom) or "sharp" sounds (riff and schick) with animal-like drawings that either had collections of round or sharp features. During category learning, the round- or sharp-sounding labels were either congruent or incongruent with the rounded or sharp diagnostic features of objects in each category. At test, subjects judged whether a learned label matched or mismatched each drawing. …

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