A database of psycholinguistic and lexical properties for French adjectives referring to human and/or nonhuman attributes

Can J Exp Psychol. 2014 Mar;68(1):67-76. doi: 10.1037/cep0000001. Epub 2013 Sep 2.


The processing of human and nonhuman concepts (e.g., agreeable vs. edible) during basic comprehension and reasoning tasks has become a major topic of scientific inquiry. To ensure that the experimental effects obtained from such studies reflect the hypothesised semantic distinction, potential confounds such as psycholinguistic and/or lexical properties of the exact stimuli chosen need to be addressed. In the current study, normative data of such properties were obtained for a series of 875 French adjectives by asking 8 groups of 20 participants to each rate all words on one dimension of theoretical interest. The collected ratings indicate the extent to which each adjective evokes a sensory experience (concreteness), captures an enduring attribute (temporal stability), refers to a visible characteristic (visibility), denotes a neutral or an affectively laden concept (valence), signifies an attribute of low or high intensity, is familiar to the reader and can be used to describe people and/or inanimate entities such as objects. In addition, for each item its exact grammatical class (adjective vs. past participle adjective), length (i.e., number of letters, number of syllables), and word frequency was retrieved from the lexique3 corpus. The resulting database enables researchers to consider pivotal psycholinguistic and lexical properties when selecting human and nonhuman stimuli for future research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Concept Formation / physiology*
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment / physiology
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Psycholinguistics*
  • Semantics*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Vocabulary
  • Young Adult