Recent studies confirmed the existence of differences in object representation between German and Spanish speakers. E.g., Boroditsky et.al. (2003) have shown differences in the descriptions of the same objects by Spanish and German speakers, if those objects have different gender in those languages. Gender congruence also seemed to biased the results of memory tasks. We will try to replicate those findings in Polish and Italian and use novel methods to better understand the mechanisms underlying those effects. · First, replicating Boroditsky’s study, a memory task will be performed, in which Polish and Italian speakers will be taught proper names for objects. In half of the cases participants will learn names congruent with gender of an object in their language, in the other half – incongruent. The hypothesis is that the recall of the name for an object will be worse if the gender of the name is incongruent with the gender of an object. Both Polish and Italian speakers should show bias in the direction of pairs congruent in their languages. · Next a description task (Boroditsky et al., 2003) will be used: subjects will be asked to give three adjectives describing a given object. The list of adjectives will be then evaluated by independent judges on the dimension “masculine-feminine”. The hypothesis is that adjectives given for the same objects in Italian and in Polish will differ and will be congruent with the grammatical gender of objects. An additional advantage of this study will be obtaining the rating of adjectives by Italian and Polish judges on the “masculine – feminine” dimension. This will indicate possible differences in the cultural stereotypes of gender in the two countries. · Another experiment will be based on a task used by Sera, Berge, del Castillo, 1994. They made subjects “talk” for inanimate objects and measured the pitch of the voice ascribed to linguistically “masculine” and “feminine” objects. It occurred that subjects ascribed higher voices to objects that were of feminine gender than to those of masculine gender. The task here will be essentially the same but to make it more natural subjects could be asked to make a theatre scene for a child with the use of selected objects. · Novel methods will be used in order to eliminate the effect of using verbal tasks to test differences of conceptualisation, and to see if those differences go deeper than “thinking for speaking” – i.e., to our non-linguistic cognition. They will use various categorization tasks carried on names vs. pictures of objects (or even objects themselves). The question is if we find the effect of using gender information also in the tasks using the pictures or objects, and if yes if it is as strong as in the case of using verbal labels for objects. · Another task, also a novel one, and probably more interesting and diagnostic with respect to the psychological reality of representational differences between nouns of different gender, will involve describing an unknown object to a subject and ask him/her to invent a name for it. Then subjects would be asked to use the invented name in a sentence, which would allow to determine the gender ascribed to the object. Traits used for descriptions would be the ones rated as highly masculine and highly feminine by judges in earlier studies.

Differences in language structuresa as a guide to studying differences in cognitive representations: artcles and gender

CARAMELLI, NICCOLETTA
2007

Abstract

Recent studies confirmed the existence of differences in object representation between German and Spanish speakers. E.g., Boroditsky et.al. (2003) have shown differences in the descriptions of the same objects by Spanish and German speakers, if those objects have different gender in those languages. Gender congruence also seemed to biased the results of memory tasks. We will try to replicate those findings in Polish and Italian and use novel methods to better understand the mechanisms underlying those effects. · First, replicating Boroditsky’s study, a memory task will be performed, in which Polish and Italian speakers will be taught proper names for objects. In half of the cases participants will learn names congruent with gender of an object in their language, in the other half – incongruent. The hypothesis is that the recall of the name for an object will be worse if the gender of the name is incongruent with the gender of an object. Both Polish and Italian speakers should show bias in the direction of pairs congruent in their languages. · Next a description task (Boroditsky et al., 2003) will be used: subjects will be asked to give three adjectives describing a given object. The list of adjectives will be then evaluated by independent judges on the dimension “masculine-feminine”. The hypothesis is that adjectives given for the same objects in Italian and in Polish will differ and will be congruent with the grammatical gender of objects. An additional advantage of this study will be obtaining the rating of adjectives by Italian and Polish judges on the “masculine – feminine” dimension. This will indicate possible differences in the cultural stereotypes of gender in the two countries. · Another experiment will be based on a task used by Sera, Berge, del Castillo, 1994. They made subjects “talk” for inanimate objects and measured the pitch of the voice ascribed to linguistically “masculine” and “feminine” objects. It occurred that subjects ascribed higher voices to objects that were of feminine gender than to those of masculine gender. The task here will be essentially the same but to make it more natural subjects could be asked to make a theatre scene for a child with the use of selected objects. · Novel methods will be used in order to eliminate the effect of using verbal tasks to test differences of conceptualisation, and to see if those differences go deeper than “thinking for speaking” – i.e., to our non-linguistic cognition. They will use various categorization tasks carried on names vs. pictures of objects (or even objects themselves). The question is if we find the effect of using gender information also in the tasks using the pictures or objects, and if yes if it is as strong as in the case of using verbal labels for objects. · Another task, also a novel one, and probably more interesting and diagnostic with respect to the psychological reality of representational differences between nouns of different gender, will involve describing an unknown object to a subject and ask him/her to invent a name for it. Then subjects would be asked to use the invented name in a sentence, which would allow to determine the gender ascribed to the object. Traits used for descriptions would be the ones rated as highly masculine and highly feminine by judges in earlier studies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/71510
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