In two experiments, we investigated the activation of perceptual representations of referent objects during word processing. In both experiments, participants learned to associate pictures of novel three-dimensional objects with pseudowords. They subsequently performed a recognition task (Experiment 1) or a naming task (Experiment 2) on the object names while being primed with different types of visual stimuli. Only the stimuli that the participants had encountered as referent objects during the training phase facilitated recognition or naming responses. New stimuli did not facilitate the processing of object names, even if they matched a schematic or prototypical representation of the referent object that the participants might have abstracted during word-referent learning. These results suggest that words learned by way of examples of referent objects are associated with experiential traces of encounters with these objects.

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Journal Memory and Cognition
Richter, T, Zwaan, R.A, & Hoever, I.J. (2009). Acquiring experiential traces in word-referent learning. Memory and Cognition, 37(8), 1187–1196. doi:10.3758/MC.37.8.1187