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Cognitive and Personality Components Underlying Spoken Idiom Comprehension in Context. An Exploratory Study.


ABSTRACT: In this exploratory study, we investigated whether and to what extent individual differences in cognitive and personality variables are associated with spoken idiom comprehension in context. Language unimpaired participants were enrolled in a cross-modal lexical decision study in which semantically ambiguous Italian idioms (i.e., strings with both a literal and an idiomatic interpretation as, for instance, break the ice), predictable or unpredictable before the string offset, were embedded in idiom-biasing contexts. To explore the contributions of different cognitive and personality components, participants also completed a series of tests respectively assessing general speed, inhibitory control, short-term and working memory, cognitive flexibility, crystallized and fluid intelligence, and personality. Stepwise regression analyses revealed that online idiom comprehension was associated with the participants' working memory, inhibitory control and crystallized verbal intelligence, an association modulated by idiom type. Also personality-related variables (State Anxiety and Openness to Experience) were associated with idiom comprehension, although in marginally significant ways. These results contribute to the renewed interest on how individual variability modulates language comprehension, and for the first time document contributions of individual variability on lexicalized, high frequency multi-word expressions as idioms adding new knowledge to the existing evidence on metaphor and sarcasm.

SUBMITTER: Cacciari C 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5938611 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01T00:00:00Z

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): 10.18637/jss.v045.i03

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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