Imageability and semantic association in the representation and processing of event verbs

Xu Xu, Chunyan Kang, Taomei Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This study examined the relative salience of imageability (the degree to which a word evokes mental imagery) versus semantic association (the density of semantic network in which a word is embedded) in the representation and processing of four types of event verbs: sensory, cognitive, speech, and motor verbs. ERP responses were recorded, while 34 university students performed on a lexical decision task. Analysis focused primarily on amplitude differences across verb conditions within the N400 time window where activities are considered representing meaning activation. Variation in N400 amplitude across four types of verbs was found significantly associated with the level of imageability, but not the level of semantic association. The findings suggest imageability as a more salient factor relative to semantic association in the processing of these verbs. The role of semantic association and the representation of speech verbs are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-184
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Processing
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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