Beyond the abstract-concrete dichotomy: Mode of acquisition, concreteness, imageability, familiarity, age of acquisition, context availability, and abstractness norms for a set of 417 Italian words

Pasquale A. Della Rosa, Eleonora Catricalà, Gabriella Vigliocco, Stefano F. Cappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The main objective of this study is to investigate the abstract-concrete dichotomy by introducing a new variable: the mode of acquisition (MoA) of a concept. MoA refers to the way in which concepts are acquired: through experience, through language, or through both. We asked 250 participants to rate 417 words on seven dimensions: age of acquisition, concreteness, familiarity, context availability, imageability, abstractness, and MoA. The data were analyzed by considering MoA ratings and their relationship with the other psycholinguistic variables. Distributions for concreteness, abstractness, and MoA ratings indicate that they are qualitatively different. A partial correlation analysis revealed that MoA is an independent predictor of concreteness or abstractness, and a hierarchical multiple regression analysis confirmed MoA as being a valid predictor of abstractness. Strong correlations with measures for the English translation equivalents in the MRC database confirmed the reliability of our norms. The full database of MoA ratings and other psycholinguistic variables may be downloaded from http:// or

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1042-1048
Number of pages7
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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