MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Sensorimotor distance: A grounded measure of semantic similarity for 800 million concept pairs

    Wingfield, Cai and Connell, Louise (2022) Sensorimotor distance: A grounded measure of semantic similarity for 800 million concept pairs. Behavior Research Methods, 55 (7). pp. 3416-3432. ISSN 1554-351X

    [img] Download (3MB)

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    Experimental design and computational modelling across the cognitive sciences often rely on measures of semantic similarity between concepts. Traditional measures of semantic similarity are typically derived from distance in taxonomic databases (e.g. WordNet), databases of participant-produced semantic features, or corpus-derived linguistic distributional similarity (e.g. CBOW), all of which are theoretically problematic in their lack of grounding in sensorimotor experience. We present a new measure of sensorimotor distance between concepts, based on multidimensional comparisons of their experiential strength across 11 perceptual and action-effector dimensions in the Lancaster Sensorimotor Norms. We demonstrate that, in modelling human similarity judgements, sensorimotor distance has comparable explanatory power to other measures of semantic similarity, explains variance in human judgements which is missed by other measures, and does so with the advantages of remaining both grounded and computationally efficient. Moreover, sensorimotor distance is equally effective for both concrete and abstract concepts. We further introduce a web-based tool ( ) for easily calculating and visualising sensorimotor distance between words, featuring coverage of nearly 800 million word pairs. Supplementary materials are available at .

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Sensorimotor distance; Semantic similarity; Semantic distance; Grounded cognition;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 18509
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Louise Connell
    Date Deposited: 14 May 2024 11:58
    Journal or Publication Title: Behavior Research Methods
    Publisher: Psychonomic Society
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

    Repository Staff Only(login required)

    View Item Item control page


    Downloads per month over past year

    Origin of downloads