According to recent embodied cognition theories, mental concepts are represented by modality-specific sensory-motor systems. Much of the evidence for modality-specificity in conceptual processing comes from the property-verification task. When applying this and other tasks, it is important to select items based on their modality-exclusivity. We collected modality ratings for a set of 387 properties, each of which was paired with two different concepts, yielding a total of 774 concept-property items. For each item, participants rated the degree to which the property could be experienced through five perceptual modalities (vision, audition, touch, smell, and taste). Based on these ratings, we computed a measure of modality exclusivity, the degree to which a property is perceived exclusively through one sensory modality. In this paper, we briefly sketch the theoretical background of conceptual knowledge, discuss the use of the property-verification task in cognitive research, provide our norms and statistics, and validate the norms in a memory experiment. We conclude that our norms are important for researchers studying modality-specific effects in conceptual processing.

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Behavior Research Methods (Print)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Dantzig, S., Cowell, R. A., Zeelenberg, R., & Pecher, D. (2011). A sharp image or a sharp knife: Norms for the modality-exclusivity of 774 concept-property items. Behavior Research Methods (Print), 43(1), 145–154. doi:10.3758/s13428-010-0038-8