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Cross-cultural differences in affective assessment for emotionally-loaded words

Leticia Ileana Sarli

  • General San Martín,
  • Argentina
  • Leticia Sarli ¹
  • , Nadia Justel ¹
  • 1 Lab. Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia Cognitiva, CEMSC3, ICIFI, UNSAM
  • 3 Universidad de Córdoba

Words loaded with emotional content can be found on advertising, news articles and public speeches, and have been used widely on experimental settings to understand the underlying mechanisms of word recognition and retrieval. Even though word meaning is linked to its cultural environment, little emphasis is given to the potential cultural differences carried by words within the same language. The purpose of this study was to compare the affective ratings of two Spanish-language adaptations of the ANEW word-set, Argentina and Spain. The 1034 words from each dataset were split into three categories, according to their valence: positive, neutral, and negative; and later compared on the dimensions of valence, arousal and dominance. The Argentinean sample showed higher levels of arousal for negative and neutral words compared to the Spanish sample While valence interacted with gender, since the female participants on the Argentinean sample rated neutral and positive words as more pleasant that their Spanish counterparts; and overall, the Argentinean sample rated negative words as more pleasant as well. Moreover, the Argentinean sample showed higher dominance for emotional words than the Spanish sample. These results show that affective assessment varies between regions even when the same language is spoken, addressing the need for culturally-specific stimuli selection on neuroscientific research.