Concreteness and imageability

Richardson, John T. E. (1975). Concreteness and imageability. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 27(2) pp. 235–249.



Previous research has shown that the positive effect of imageability upon recall is confined to abstract items. In Experiment I it was found that imageability would affect the recall of concrete items if subjects were instructed to use imagery in their memorizing. This suggested that imagery is not usually employed in remembering concrete items. In Experiment II subjects were asked to categorize items on the basis of their meaning. A majority showed sorting related to the concreteness of the items, but very few showed sorting related to imageability. In Experiment III it was found that the concreteness of an item correlated with the time taken to produce a free associate to it, but that its imageability did not. It was concluded that concreteness is a feature of lexical organization, and not a measure of the image-arousing quality of verbal material.

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