Bidirectional synonym ratings of 464 noun pairs
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Each of 464 noun pairs was rated for synonymy on a 7-point scale by 100 college students. The purpose of this study was twofold. First, it was designed to provide memory and psycholinguistic researchers with extensive synonym norms. Second, it was designed to evaluate the effects of encoding order on perceived synonymy. The hypothesis that limited semantic-memory access can cause synonym pairs to be rated as more synonymous in one word-order than in the other was tested by presenting each noun pair to 50 judges in one order and to another 50 judges in the reverse order. Mean synonym ratings (averaged across word orders) ranged from 6.79 to 2.24, thus demonstrating the need for normative data on synonyms. A significant number of noun pairs showed strong directional effects such that perceived synonymy was significantly changed by word encoding order. The practical and theoretical importance of these directional effects are discussed.

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