Sizing up objects: the effect of diminutive forms on positive mood, value, and size judgments

Michał Parzuchowski , Konrad Bocian , Pascal Gygax


Language (e.g., structure, morphology, and wording) can direct our attention toward the specific properties of an object, in turn influencing the mental representation of that same object. In this paper, we examined this idea by focusing on a particular linguistic form of diminution used in many languages (e.g., in Polish, Spanish, and Portuguese) to refer to an object as being “smaller.” Interestingly, although objects are usually considered “better” when they are bigger in size, objects described with linguistic diminution can also refer to those that are emotionally positive. Across three experiments conducted in Polish, we examined this lexical ambiguity in terms of mood (Experiment 1), subjective quality and monetary value (Experiment 2), and choice selection (Experiment 3). Overall, we found that people evaluate objects differently depending on the linguistic form (i.e., with or without diminution) with which they are described, and that it was related to the perceptual representation of these objects, and not their affective status. Objects described with diminution are evaluated as less satisfying and of lesser value and this effect is attributed to the way participants represent the objects (i.e., encoded and memorized). The generalizability of these effects is discussed.
Author Michał Parzuchowski (Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie)
Michał Parzuchowski,,
- Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie
, Konrad Bocian (Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie)
Konrad Bocian,,
- Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie
, Pascal Gygax
Pascal Gygax,,
Journal seriesFrontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, (A 35 pkt)
Issue year2016
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in Englishlanguage, diminutive forms, judgments, size, satisfaction, value, cognition
ASJC Classification3200 General Psychology
Languageen angielski
Parzuchowski_sizing up_2016.jpg 1.02 MB
Parzuchowski_sizing up_2016_oświadczenie.jpg 544.9 KB
bocian_sizing upl_2016_oświadczenie.jpg 345.49 KB
Score (nominal)35
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 1.006; WoS Impact Factor: 2016 = 2.323 (2) - 2016=2.822 (5)
Citation count*5 (2021-03-02)
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