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   2011, Vol. 43 Issue (04) : 347-363     DOI:
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The Comparative Study on English Words, Chinese Words, Early Words and Pictures
ZHANG Ji-Jia;WANG Juan;LIU Ming
Center for Psychological Application, Department of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
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Abstract  Words’ naming and categorizing can reflect words’ processing course and mechanism. English words, Chinese words, inscription on oracle bones, Dongba pictograph and pictures were different symbolic systems in the history of human characters’ development. It had important theoretical values to investigate the features of these five symbolic systems.
Two experiments were adopted to investigate five symbolic systems’ characteristics. Perceptive similarity evaluation task was performed in Experiment 1a. Two types of symbols were matched, participants were asked to evaluate the similarity level by 7-point scale. Each kind of materials had 16 stimuli including animal, plant, human organs, natural objects and tools. Twenty-six university students participated in this study and they were required to learn and get acquainted with the materials before the experiment. Semantic consistence evaluation task was performed in Experiment 1b. Twenty-five university students participated in this study. Naming and categorizing tasks were performed in Experiment 2. Two-factor within subject design was used: 5 (symbolic types: English words, Chinese words, inscription on oracle bones, Dongba pictograph and pictures) × 2 (tasks: naming, categorizing). During naming task, participants were asked to read the words loudly or name the symbols presented on the screen as quickly and correctly as possible. Naming time was collected by the computer and naming correct percent was recorded by the examiner. During categorizing task, participants were asked to decide whether the item a word or symbol representing belong to a certain category by pressing “F” or “J” on the keyboards. Stimulus-naming were presented in five blocks of 240 trials. Stimulus-categorizing were presented in five blocks of 480 trials. Twenty-four university students participated in this study.
The results were as following: (1) Different symbols displayed differently in perceptive similarity judgment task and semantic consistence judgment task. Pictures, inscription on oracle bones, Dongba pictograph and Chinese characters had high similarity in perception, English and other symbols had low similarity; in semantic consistence judgment task, symbols combined with English and Chinese were processed fast. (2) Different kinds of materials were asymmetrical in naming and categorizing: English-reading and Chinese-reading were faster than English -categorizing and Chinese-categorizing, categorizing of inscription on oracle bones, Dongba pictograph-categorizing and picture-categorizing were faster than respective naming. (3) Regardless of naming or categorizing, the reacting of Chinese words and pictures were faster than the reacting of inscription on oracle bones and Dongba pictograph. English-naming was faster than naming of inscription on oracle bones and Dongba pictograph-naming; English-categorizing was slower than Dongba pictograph-categorizing. (4) English words, Chinese words and pictures were asymmetrical in naming and categorizing: English-reading and Chinese-reading were faster than picture-naming but English-categorizing, Chinese-categorizing was slower than picture-categorizing. (5) Dongba pictograph and inscription on oracle bones were asymmetrical in naming and categorizing: the reading of inscription on oracle bones was faster than Dongba pictograph-reading but the categorizing of inscription on oracle bones was slower than Dongba pictograph-categorizing. These phenomena were attributed to the structure characteristics and distinctive features of the five symbols, also the patterns of symbols recording language and participants’ proficiency of symbols. These results may provide psychological evidence for the character’s development as well as evolution rules, and also help to identify the natures of Dongba pictograph and inscription on oracle bones.
Keywords English words      Chinese words      inscription on oracle bones      Dongba pictograph      pictures      naming      categorizing     
Corresponding Authors: ZHANG Ji-Jia   
Issue Date: 30 April 2011
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ZHANG Ji-Jia
WANG Juan
LIU Ming
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ZHANG Ji-Jia,WANG Juan,LIU Ming. The Comparative Study on English Words, Chinese Words, Early Words and Pictures[J]. , 2011, 43(04): 347-363.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/      OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2011/V43/I04/347
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