Authors:Hidehito Honda, Itsuki Fujisaki, Toshihiko Matsuka, Kazuhiro Ueda

Title:Typicality or fluency? A Comparison of two hypotheses about cognitive effects of Japanese script

Journal:Experimental Psychology



Abstract:The modern Japanese writing system comprises different scripts, such as Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana. These scripts differ greatly in both typicality and frequency of usage. In two experimental studies using names of cities or prefectures in Japan as target stimuli, we examined two hypotheses, the typicality hypothesis and fluency hypothesis, in order to assess effects of Japanese script on psychological processes. It was found that Kanji names induced typical thinking in a participant’s description of a location, whereas Katakana names induced rather nontypical thinking. In contrast, we found that script differences did not affect distance estimations. We discuss these effects of Japanese script on psychological processes in terms of the typicality hypothesis (differences in typical usage habits between Kanji and Katakana that affect psychological processes).

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