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Behav Res Methods. 2012 Jun;44(2):374-9. doi: 10.3758/s13428-011-0162-0.

Imageability estimates for 3,000 disyllabic words.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE, USA.


We provide imageability estimates for 3,000 disyllabic words (as supplementary materials that may be downloaded with the article from ). Imageability is a widely studied lexical variable believed to influence semantic and memory processes (see, e.g., Paivio, 1971). In addition, imageability influences basic word recognition processes (Plaut, McClelland, Seidenberg, & Patterson, 1996). In fact, neuroimaging studies have suggested that reading high- and low-imageable words elicits distinct neural activation patterns for the two types e.g., Bedny & Thompson-Schill (Brain and Language 98:127-139, 2006; Graves, Binder, Desai, Conant, & Seidenberg NeuroImage 53:638-646, 2010). Despite the usefulness of this variable, imageability estimates have not been available for large sets of words. Furthermore, recent megastudies of word processing e.g., Balota et al. (Behavior Research Methods 39:445-459, 2007) have expanded the number of words that interested researchers can select according to other lexical characteristics (e.g., average naming latencies, lexical decision times, etc.). However, the dearth of imageability estimates (as well as those of other lexical characteristics) limits the items that researchers can include in their experiments. Thus, these imageability estimates for disyllabic words expand the number of words available for investigations of word processing, which should be useful for researchers interested in the influences of imageability both as an input and as an outcome variable.

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