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Synthesized size-sound sound symbolism

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Lockwood,  Gwilym
Neurobiology of Language Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Hagoort,  Peter
Neurobiology of Language Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Dingemanse,  Mark
Language and Cognition Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Lockwood, G., Hagoort, P., & Dingemanse, M. (2016). Synthesized size-sound sound symbolism. Talk presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2016). Philadelphia, PA, USA. 2016-08-10 - 2016-08-13.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-B229-7
Abstract
Studies of sound symbolism have shown that people can associate sound and meaning in consistent ways when presented with maximally contrastive stimulus pairs of nonwords such as bouba/kiki (rounded/sharp) or mil/mal (small/big). Recent work has shown the effect extends to antonymic words from natural languages and has proposed a role for shared cross-modal correspondences in biasing form-to-meaning associations. An important open question is how the associations work, and particularly what the role is of sound-symbolic matches versus mismatches. We report on a learning task designed to distinguish between three existing theories by using a spectrum of sound-symbolically matching, mismatching, and neutral (neither matching nor mismatching) stimuli. Synthesized stimuli allow us to control for prosody, and the inclusion of a neutral condition allows a direct test of competing accounts. We find evidence for a sound-symbolic match boost, but not for a mismatch difficulty compared to the neutral condition.