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Deriving affective meaning from connectivity in the mental lexicon

Boek - Dissertatie

The mental lexicon, the structure reflecting a person’s knowledge of words, contains not only information about a word’s denotation, pronunciation, and part of speech, but also about the word’s connotation or affective meaning. While there has been considerable research on the mental lexicon, most has focused on denotational and linguistic aspects of words; connotation has not received as much attention. In this dissertation, we will examine the relation between affective meaning and connectivity in the mental lexicon. In a first empirical study (Chapter 2), we use a large word association dataset to investigate whether connected words share affective attributes. We find that words tend to be connected to words of similar valence, arousal, dominance, and concreteness. Considering this, it seems reasonable to assume that we can obtain information about a word’s affective meaning from the words it is connected to. We examine this possibility in three further chapters. In Chapter 3, we outline a method to predict the valence, arousal, and dominance of words, using their connectivity towards words for which these values are already known. We find that obtained predictions show very high correlations to human ratings. In Chapter 4, we follow a similar approach to estimate the correspondence of words towards the Big Five personality dimensions: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. We use these estimates to code the responses of a free-format personality test, in which participants describe their own personality using any ten words. We find that the resulting personality profiles show a strong correspondence to profiles obtained by having trained psychologists code responses. Finally, in Chapter 5, we investigate the possibility of measuring brand personality, the human characteristics associated with a brand, by examining the connectivity of the associations people make towards a brand. We test this for a number of well-known brands, and find that the resulting brand personality indices show a mixed correspondence to human ratings, with correlations that are high for some dimensions but low and nonsignificant for others.
Aantal pagina's: 149
Jaar van publicatie:2016