• Marina Ćirić
  • Dušica Filipović Đurđević
Keywords: concreteness effect, concreteness ratings, stimulus context, concrete words, abstract words


The aim of this research was to establish whether and to what extent the stimulus context affected concreteness ratings. We hypothesized that concreteness ratings of concrete and abstract words would depend on concreteness range of the words that are presented to participants. We, therefore, presented three separate groups of participants with either a list of concrete nouns, a list of abstract nouns, or a joint list of both concrete and abstract nouns. All participants were given identical instructions and provided concreteness ratings on a seven-point scale. Our results revealed that while concrete nouns were always rated higher on the concreteness scale, the difference between average concreteness of concrete and abstract words was significantly higher when they were presented jointly compared to a situation when concrete and abstract words were rated separately. Additionally, we recorded the rating latencies. We found that participants were faster when rating words presented in a joint list of both concrete and abstract words, compared to rating either of them separately. Additionally, they were faster when rating concrete nouns compared to abstract nouns, with a tendency for this difference to be more pronounced in joint-list rating. Primarily, our results have practical implications for researchers who rely on large psycholinguistic databases to control for or match stimuli for concreteness, as we show that ratings collected in different norming studies might not be directly comparable. From a  theoretical point of view, our results point to some differences between concrete and abstract words.

Author Biographies

Marina Ćirić

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad, Serbia

Dušica Filipović Đurđević

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad, Serbia

Laboratory for Experimental Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad, Serbia

Laboratory for Experimental Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia


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