Published On: 28/07/2021|Categories: 2018–2022, Vol.42 (2), Vol.42 (2021)|


The aim of the present study was to test the proposal of Kousta et al. (2011), according to which abstract words are more affectively loaded than concrete words. To this end, we focused on the acquisition of novel concepts by means of an intentional learning experiment in which participants had to learn a set of 40 novel concepts in Spanish (definitions) associated with novel word forms (pseudowords). Concreteness (concrete vs. abstract concepts) and emotionality (neutral vs. negative concepts) were orthogonally manipulated. Acquisition was assessed through a recognition task in which participants were asked to match the novel word forms with their definitions. Results showed that concrete concepts were acquired better than abstract concepts. Importantly, the concreteness advantage disappeared when the content of the concept was negative. Hence, emotional (negative) content facilitated the acquisition of abstract concepts, but not of concrete concepts, giving support to the proposal of Kousta et al. (2011).

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