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The concreteness effects of bilingual memory in free association tasks

Posted on:2007-10-12Degree:Ed.DType:Dissertation
University:University of Southern CaliforniaCandidate:Burle, NathalieFull Text:PDF
Concrete and abstract words are two different systems of language processing. Abstract words are developed through lexical processing and low imagery whereas concrete words are created through high imagery in memory. This process is called Concreteness effects. Bilingual memory research suggests that in association tasks, bilingual memory provides higher recall and shorter reaction time for concrete words, resulting in high concreteness effects. In order to analyze this process in bilingualism, this dissertation examined the impact of concreteness effects in memory with 10 French and 10 English adult bilinguals, using additional variables such as gender, level of education, age, and level of language fluency. This quasi-experimental design consisted of measuring concreteness effects and reaction time during an association task in which a predefined concrete or abstract word stimulus was given. A total of 20 word stimuli were symmetrically assigned to French and English native speakers. Concreteness effects were measured by the number of concrete word responses and reaction time on recall. These effects were further examined with gender, age, level of language fluency, and education. Results from the study revealed that the type of word stimulus and reaction time have a significant outcome on concreteness effects. Results also confirmed that female subjects showed on average shorter reaction time.; The results also point to some significant differences between L1 and L2 on concreteness effects, suggesting higher concreteness effects in the second language and lower reaction time in the native language.; By analyzing the repeated word responses across English and French native speakers, this study also investigated the impact of semantic overlap of bilingual memory between concrete and abstract words, and demonstrated that overlap is higher for concrete word stimuli.
Keywords/Search Tags:Concrete, Bilingual memory, Abstract words, Reaction time, Language, Association
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