Predicting context-dependent cross-modal associations with dimension-specific polarity attributions. Part 1 - Brightness and aggression

Schietecat, A. C., Lakens, D. IJsselsteijn, W. A., & de Kort, Y. A. W. (in press). Predicting context-dependent cross-modal associations with dimension-specific polarity attributions. Part 1 - Brightness and aggression. Collabra: Psychology.

Although researchers have repeatedly shown that the meaning of the same concept can vary across different contexts, it has proven difficult to predict when people will assign which meaning to a concept, and which associations a concept will activate. Building on the affective theory of meaning (Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957) and the polarity correspondence principle (Proctor & Cho, 2006), we aim to understand and predict the context-dependency of cross-domain associations by proposing the dimension-specificity hypothesis. The dimension-specificity hypothesis predicts that which specific cross-domain associations emerges depending upon which one of multiple affective dimensions of meaning (i.e., the evaluation, activity, or potency dimension) is most salient in a specific context. The relative conceptual distances between bipolar opposed concept pairs (e.g., good vs. bad) on multiple dimensions of meaning determine the dimension that will become most salient. Plus and minus polarities will be attributed to the bipolar concepts, and associations between concrete and abstract concepts that share plus or minus polarities will become activated. We present three sets of experiments in which we predict the cross-modal associations that should emerge between aggression-related concepts and saturation and brightness. Our data support the emergence of dimension-specific polarity attributions. We discuss the potential of dimension-specific polarity attributions to understand and predict how the context influences the emergence of cross-domain associations.

Keywords: cross-domain associations, context-effects, affective dimensions of meaning, color, brightness.

 

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