Recent psycholinguistic and neuroscientific research has emphasized the crucial role of emo- tions for abstract words, which would be grounded by affective experience, instead of a senso- rimotor one. The hypothesis of affective embodiment has been proposed as an alternative to the idea that abstract words are linguistically coded and that linguistic processing plays a key role in their acquisition and processing. In this paper, we use distributional semantic models to explore the complex interplay between linguistic and affective information in the representation of abstract words. Distributional analyses on Italian norming data show that abstract words have more affective content and tend to co-occur with contexts with higher emotive values, according to affective statistical indices estimated in terms of distributional similarity with a restricted number of seed words strongly associated with a set of basic emotions. Therefore, the strong affective content of abstract words might just be an indirect byproduct of co-occur- rence statistics. This is consistent with a version of representational pluralism in which concepts that are fully embodied either at the sensorimotor or at the affective level live side- by-side with concepts only indirectly embodied via their linguistic associations with other embodied words.

Recent psycholinguistic and neuroscientific research has emphasized the crucial role of emotions for abstract words, which would be grounded by affective experience, instead of a sensorimotor one. The hypothesis of affective embodiment has been proposed as an alternative to the idea that abstract words are linguistically coded and that linguistic processing plays a key role in their acquisition and processing. In this paper, we use distributional semantic models to explore the complex interplay between linguistic and affective information in the representation of abstract words. Distributional analyses on Italian norming data show that abstract words have more affective content and tend to co-occur with contexts with higher emotive values, according to affective statistical indices estimated in terms of distributional similarity with a restricted number of seed words strongly associated with a set of basic emotions. Therefore, the strong affective content of abstract words might just be an indirect byproduct of co-occurrence statistics. This is consistent with a version of representational pluralism in which concepts that are fully embodied either at the sensorimotor or at the affective level live side-by-side with concepts only indirectly embodied via their linguistic associations with other embodied words.

The Emotions of Abstract Words: A Distributional Semantic Analysis

Gianluca Lebani;
2018

Abstract

Recent psycholinguistic and neuroscientific research has emphasized the crucial role of emo- tions for abstract words, which would be grounded by affective experience, instead of a senso- rimotor one. The hypothesis of affective embodiment has been proposed as an alternative to the idea that abstract words are linguistically coded and that linguistic processing plays a key role in their acquisition and processing. In this paper, we use distributional semantic models to explore the complex interplay between linguistic and affective information in the representation of abstract words. Distributional analyses on Italian norming data show that abstract words have more affective content and tend to co-occur with contexts with higher emotive values, according to affective statistical indices estimated in terms of distributional similarity with a restricted number of seed words strongly associated with a set of basic emotions. Therefore, the strong affective content of abstract words might just be an indirect byproduct of co-occur- rence statistics. This is consistent with a version of representational pluralism in which concepts that are fully embodied either at the sensorimotor or at the affective level live side- by-side with concepts only indirectly embodied via their linguistic associations with other embodied words.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3715950
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