Augmented Modality Exclusivity Norms for Concrete and Abstract Italian Property Words
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Morucci, P., Bottini, R., & Crepaldi, D. (2019). Augmented Modality Exclusivity Norms for Concrete and Abstract Italian Property Words. Journal of Cognition, 2(1), 42. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/joc.88
How perceptual information is encoded into language and conceptual knowledge is a debated topic in cognitive (neuro)science. We present modality norms for 643 Italian adjectives, which referred to one of the five perceptual modalities or were abstract. Overall, words were rated as mostly connected to the visual modality and least connected to the olfactory and gustatory modality. We found that words associated to visual and auditory experience were more unimodal compared to words associated to other sensory modalities. A principal components analysis highlighted a strong coupling between gustatory and olfactory information in word meaning, and the tendency of words referring to tactile experience to also include information from the visual dimension. Abstract words were found to encode only marginal perceptual information, mostly from visual and auditory experience. The modality norms were augmented with corpus–based (e.g., Zipf Frequency, Orthographic Levenshtein Distance 20) and ratings–based psycholinguistic variables (Age of Acquisition, Familiarity, Contextual Availability). Split-half correlations performed for each experimental variable and comparisons with similar databases confirmed that our norms are highly reliable. This database thus provides a new important tool for investigating the interplay between language, perception and cognition.