Comparing Nouns and Verbs in a Lexical Task
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We analyzed the differential processing of nouns and verbs in a lexical decision task. Moderate and high-frequency nouns and verbs were compared. The characteristics of our material were specified at the formal level (number of letters and syllables, number of homographs, orthographic neighbors, frequency and age of acquisition), and at the semantic level (imagery, number and strength of associations, number of meanings, context dependency). A regression analysis indicated a classical frequency effect and a word-type effect, with latencies for verbs being slower than for nouns. The regression analysis did not permit the conclusion that semantic effects were involved (particularly imageability). Nevertheless, the semantic opposition between nouns as prototypical representations of objects, and verbs as prototypical representation of actions was not tested in this experiment and remains a good candidate explanation of the response time discrepancies between verbs and nouns.
KeywordsNoun and verb processing Frequency LDT Semantic variables
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