The conceptual cueing database: Rated items for the study of the interaction between language and attention Academic Article uri icon


  • Humans appear to rely on spatial mappings to describe and represent concepts. In particular, conceptual cueing refers to the effect whereby after reading or hearing a particular word, the location of observers' visual attention in space can be systematically shifted in a particular direction. For example, words such as "sun" and "happy" orient attention upwards, whereas words such as "basement" and "bitter" orient attention downwards. This area of research has garnered much interest, particularly within the embodied cognition framework, for its potential to enhance our understanding of the interaction between abstract cognitive processes such as language and basic visual processes such as attention and stimulus processing. To date, however, this area has relied on subjective classification criteria to determine whether words ought to be classified as having a meaning that implies "up" or "down." The present study, therefore, provides a set of 498 items that have each been systematically rated by over 90 participants, providing refined, continuous measures of the extent to which people associate given words with particular spatial dimensions. The resulting database provides an objective means to aid item-selection for future research in this area.

publication date

  • September 2016