Event Title

Is that Cake Moist? Contextual and Lexical Contributions to Word Aversion

Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

30-4-2015 11:00 AM

End Date

30-4-2015 1:55 PM

Project Type

Poster

Description

Word aversion is defined as the visceral dislike of a word independent of that words meaning. For example many people report strong dislike for the word moist. Because the negative reaction people elicit isnt meaning-driven, aversive words themselves provide an excellent tool through which to gain insight into the ways in which context and phonology can affect our word perception and processing of words. We conducted a series of studies to examine the cognitive processes involved in making semantic and lexical judgments of aversive words. To examine whether aversive words are perceived as such because of their meaning or the sound, aversive words (e.g., moist) were compared to synonyms (e.g., humid). They were rated as more negative than their synonyms, suggesting that phonological factors are involved. To further examine the role of phonology, nonwords developed using phonemes common in aversive words (e.g., croist) were compared to nonwords generated using more positive-sounding phonemes (e.g., fluffle). The former were rated as more negative, again confirming the role of sound in the phenomenon of word aversion. Additional experiments compared aversive words to positive (e.g., happy) and negative (e.g., murder) words and whether it is possible to bias the interpretation of aversive words by changing the context in which they are presented (e.g., cake-moist vs. skin-moist). It seems to be that the sounds not the meaning of the words elicit the visceral response.

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Psychology Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Social Sciences

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

1067

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Apr 30th, 11:00 AM Apr 30th, 1:55 PM

Is that Cake Moist? Contextual and Lexical Contributions to Word Aversion

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Word aversion is defined as the visceral dislike of a word independent of that words meaning. For example many people report strong dislike for the word moist. Because the negative reaction people elicit isnt meaning-driven, aversive words themselves provide an excellent tool through which to gain insight into the ways in which context and phonology can affect our word perception and processing of words. We conducted a series of studies to examine the cognitive processes involved in making semantic and lexical judgments of aversive words. To examine whether aversive words are perceived as such because of their meaning or the sound, aversive words (e.g., moist) were compared to synonyms (e.g., humid). They were rated as more negative than their synonyms, suggesting that phonological factors are involved. To further examine the role of phonology, nonwords developed using phonemes common in aversive words (e.g., croist) were compared to nonwords generated using more positive-sounding phonemes (e.g., fluffle). The former were rated as more negative, again confirming the role of sound in the phenomenon of word aversion. Additional experiments compared aversive words to positive (e.g., happy) and negative (e.g., murder) words and whether it is possible to bias the interpretation of aversive words by changing the context in which they are presented (e.g., cake-moist vs. skin-moist). It seems to be that the sounds not the meaning of the words elicit the visceral response.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/43