2008 Volume 51 Issue 3 Pages 170-184
Similarities of language-independent form symbolism were tested across different geographical regions. In Experiment 1, word-form matching between 10 abstract words and 16 computer-generated nonsense forms was performed by between 61 and 107 undergraduate or volunteer participants in nine geographic regions of the world. Participants were native speakers of one of eight different languages: Japanese, Chinese, Korean, English, Italian, German, Serbian and Slovakian. The results demonstrated similar trends across languages and geographic regions. The small but significant differences between Eastern and Western groups found in Experiment 1 could be attributed to differences between them in the affective meanings of words rather than forms, as suggested by the results of Experiment 2. Experiment 2 involved participants (49 to 116 undergraduates from Japan, Taiwan, the US and Serbia) performing the 11-scale Semantic Differential technique on 10 words and eight of the 16 forms used in Experiment 1. It was concluded that the cross-regional similarity of form symbolism is based on the similarity of affective meanings of forms across different regions and languages.