Abstract

Event-related potentials (ERPs) were used to investigate whether processing differences between nouns and verbs can be accounted for by the differential salience of visual-perceptual and motor attributes in their semantic specifications. Three subclasses of nouns and verbs were selected, which differed in their semantic attribute composition (abstract, high visual, high visual and motor). Single visual word presentation with a recognition memory task was used. While multiple robust and parallel ERP effects were observed for both grammatical class and attribute type, there were no interactions between these. This pattern of effects provides support for lexical—semantic knowledge being organized in a manner that takes account both of category-based (grammatical class) and attribute-based distinctions.

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