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Meaning above (and in) the head: Combinatorial visual morphology from comics and emoji

Cohn, Neil and Foulsham, Tom (2022) 'Meaning above (and in) the head: Combinatorial visual morphology from comics and emoji.' Memory & Cognition. ISSN 0090-502X

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Abstract

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Compositionality is a primary feature of language, but graphics can also create combinatorial meaning, like with items above faces (e.g., lightbulbs to mean inspiration). We posit that these “upfixes” (i.e., upwards affixes) involve a productive schema enabling both stored and novel face–upfix dyads. In two experiments, participants viewed either conventional (e.g., lightbulb) or unconventional (e.g., clover-leaves) upfixes with faces which either matched (e.g., lightbulb/smile) or mismatched (e.g., lightbulb/frown). In Experiment 1, matching dyads sponsored higher comprehensibility ratings and faster response times, modulated by conventionality. In Experiment 2, event-related brain potentials (ERPs) revealed conventional upfixes, regardless of matching, evoked larger N250s, indicating perceptual expertise, but mismatching and unconventional dyads elicited larger semantic processing costs (N400) than conventional-matching dyads. Yet mismatches evoked a late negativity, suggesting congruent novel dyads remained construable compared with violations. These results support that combinatorial graphics involve a constrained productive schema, similar to the lexicon of language.</jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Visual language; Morphology; Affixation; Compositionality
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2022 15:11
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2022 14:34
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/32466

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