In 3 experiments, we investigated the effect of grammatical gender on object categorization. Participants were asked to judge whether 2 objects, whose names did or did not share grammatical gender, belonged to the same semantic category by pressing a key. Monolingual speakers of English (Experiment 1), Italian (Experiments 1 and 2), and Spanish (Experiments 2 and 3) were tested in their native language. Italian and Spanish participants responded faster to pairs of stimuli sharing the same gender, whereas no difference was observed for English participants. In Experiment 2, the pictures were chosen in such a way that the grammatical gender of the names was opposite in Italian and Spanish. Therefore, the same pair of stimuli gave rise to different patterns depending on the gender congruency of the names in the languages. In Experiment 3, Spanish speakers performed the same task under an articulatory suppression condition, showing no grammatical gender effect. The locus where meaning and gender interact can be located at the level of the lexical representation that specifies syntactic information: Nouns sharing the same grammatical gender activate each other, thus facilitating their processing and speeding up responses, either to semantically related pairs or to semantically unrelated pairs.

The effect of grammatical gender on object categorisation

Cubelli, Roberto;Job, Remo
2011

Abstract

In 3 experiments, we investigated the effect of grammatical gender on object categorization. Participants were asked to judge whether 2 objects, whose names did or did not share grammatical gender, belonged to the same semantic category by pressing a key. Monolingual speakers of English (Experiment 1), Italian (Experiments 1 and 2), and Spanish (Experiments 2 and 3) were tested in their native language. Italian and Spanish participants responded faster to pairs of stimuli sharing the same gender, whereas no difference was observed for English participants. In Experiment 2, the pictures were chosen in such a way that the grammatical gender of the names was opposite in Italian and Spanish. Therefore, the same pair of stimuli gave rise to different patterns depending on the gender congruency of the names in the languages. In Experiment 3, Spanish speakers performed the same task under an articulatory suppression condition, showing no grammatical gender effect. The locus where meaning and gender interact can be located at the level of the lexical representation that specifies syntactic information: Nouns sharing the same grammatical gender activate each other, thus facilitating their processing and speeding up responses, either to semantically related pairs or to semantically unrelated pairs.
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Cubelli, Roberto; D., Paolieri; L., Lotto; Job, Remo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/86425
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