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ERIC Number: EJ889640
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
The Link between Form and Meaning in British Sign Language: Effects of Iconicity for Phonological Decisions
Thompson, Robin L.; Vinson, David P.; Vigliocco, Gabriella
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v36 n4 p1017-1027 Jul 2010
Signed languages exploit the visual/gestural modality to create iconic expression across a wide range of basic conceptual structures in which the phonetic resources of the language are built up into an analogue of a mental image (Taub, 2001). Previously, we demonstrated a processing advantage when iconic properties of signs were made salient in a corresponding picture during a picture and sign matching task (Thompson, Vinson, & Vigliocco, 2009). The current study investigates the extent of iconicity effects with a phonological decision task (does the sign involve straight or curved fingers?) in which the meaning of the sign is irrelevant. The results show that iconicity is a significant predictor of response latencies and accuracy, with more iconic signs leading to slower responses and more errors. We conclude that meaning is activated automatically for highly iconic properties of a sign, and this leads to interference in making form-based decisions. Thus, the current study extends previous work by demonstrating that iconicity effects permeate the entire language system, arising automatically even when access to meaning is not needed. (Contains 5 footnotes and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands; United Kingdom (England)