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Description: The present dataset is associated with the following published article: Villani C, Loia A, Bolognesi MM. The semantic content of concrete, abstract, specific, and generic concepts. Language and Cognition. Published online 2024:1-28. doi:10.1017/langcog.2023.64 ABSTRACT: Abstraction processes involve two variables: concreteness (banana vs. belief) and specificity (chair vs. furniture or religion vs. Buddhism). Researchers are investigating the relationship between them, but many questions remain open, such as: What type of semantics characterizes words with varying degrees of concreteness and specificity? We tackle this topic through an in-depth semantic analysis of 1049 Italian words for which human-generated concreteness and specificity ratings are available. Our findings reveal that different semantic types are associated with varying degrees of concreteness. Interestingly, when specificity is considered, the variance in concreteness ratings explained by semantic types increases substantially, suggesting the need to carefully control word specificity in future research. Moreover, through cluster analyses based on concreteness and specificity ratings, we observe the bottom-up emergence of 4 subgroups of semantically coherent words. Overall, this study provides empirical evidence and theoretical insight on the interplay of concreteness and specificity in shaping semantic categorization. Acknowledgements and funding: Funded by the European Union (GRANT AGREEMENT: ERC-2021-STG-101039777). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Council Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International


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