Summary: A concept that stands for or suggests something else by reason of its relationship, association, convention, or resemblance. The symbolism may be mental or a visible sign or representation. (From Webster, 3d ed)

Top Publications

  1. Henshilwood C, D ERRICO F, Marean C, Milo R, Yates R. An early bone tool industry from the Middle Stone Age at Blombos Cave, South Africa: implications for the origins of modern human behaviour, symbolism and language. J Hum Evol. 2001;41:631-78 pubmed
  2. Parise C, Pavani F. Evidence of sound symbolism in simple vocalizations. Exp Brain Res. 2011;214:373-80 pubmed publisher
    ..Growing evidence seems to support sound symbolism, claiming for a naturally constrained mapping of meaning into sounds...
  3. Herrmann T, Schüttler E, Benavides P, Gálvez N, Sohn L, Palomo N. Values, animal symbolism, and human-animal relationships associated to two threatened felids in Mapuche and Chilean local narratives. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2013;9:41 pubmed publisher
    ..This study aimed at understanding values and human-animal relationships with negatively perceived threatened carnivores through the disclosure of local stories and Mapuche traditional folktales...
  4. Monaghan P, Mattock K, Walker P. The role of sound symbolism in language learning. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2012;38:1152-64 pubmed publisher
    ..suggested to result in easier language acquisition, but previous studies have explicitly tested effects of sound symbolism on learning category distinctions but not on word learning...
  5. Parise C, Spence C. Audiovisual crossmodal correspondences and sound symbolism: a study using the implicit association test. Exp Brain Res. 2012;220:319-33 pubmed publisher
    ..These results are further discussed in terms of the advantages of the IAT over traditional techniques for assessing the strength and symmetry of various crossmodal correspondences. ..
  6. Bahrami B, Vetter P, Spolaore E, Pagano S, Butterworth B, Rees G. Unconscious numerical priming despite interocular suppression. Psychol Sci. 2010;21:224-33 pubmed publisher
    ..Taken together, our findings provide clear evidence for high-level processing of stimuli rendered invisible through interocular suppression. ..
  7. Maloney E, Risko E, Preston F, Ansari D, Fugelsang J. Challenging the reliability and validity of cognitive measures: the case of the numerical distance effect. Acta Psychol (Amst). 2010;134:154-61 pubmed publisher
    ..Results are discussed with respect to their implications for the use of the NDE as a metric of numerical processing and representation in research with both children and adults. ..
  8. Cohen D. Integers do not automatically activate their quantity representation. Psychon Bull Rev. 2009;16:332-6 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings demonstrate that integers maintain a level of independence from their quantity representations. ..
  9. Ozturk O, Krehm M, Vouloumanos A. Sound symbolism in infancy: evidence for sound-shape cross-modal correspondences in 4-month-olds. J Exp Child Psychol. 2013;114:173-86 pubmed publisher
    ..These results suggest that some sound-shape mappings precede language learning, and may in fact aid in language learning by establishing a basis for matching labels to referents and narrowing the hypothesis space for young infants. ..

More Information


  1. Monaghan P, Christiansen M, Fitneva S. The arbitrariness of the sign: learning advantages from the structure of the vocabulary. J Exp Psychol Gen. 2011;140:325-47 pubmed publisher
    ..g., in the form of sound symbolism or cues to grammatical categories)...
  2. Spermon D, Gibney P, Darlington Y. Complex trauma, dissociation, and the use of symbolism in therapy. J Trauma Dissociation. 2009;10:436-50 pubmed publisher
    ..The article provides a detailed discussion of symbolism and therapeutic possibilities for the use of symbolism as an adjunct to therapy with sufferers of complex ..
  3. Nieder A. The number domain- can we count on parietal cortex?. Neuron. 2004;44:407-9 pubmed
    ..Two recent studies by Shuman and Kanwisher and by Piazza et al. published in this issue of Neuron tested this assumption...with quite different results. ..
  4. Beran M, Harris E, Evans T, Klein E, Chan B, Flemming T, et al. Ordinal judgments of symbolic stimuli by capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) and rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta): the effects of differential and nondifferential reward. J Comp Psychol. 2008;122:52-61 pubmed publisher
    ..Both species performed better with the numerals, suggesting that an ordinal sequence of all stimuli had been learned during Experiment 1, rather than a matrix of two-choice discriminations. ..
  5. Westbury C. Implicit sound symbolism in lexical access: evidence from an interference task. Brain Lang. 2005;93:10-9 pubmed
    ..Reaction times show interference patterns consistent with Köhler's claims. This demonstrates that the effect is pre-semantic. Neurological reasons for these word/shape and character/shape interference phenomena are discussed. ..
  6. Imai M, Kita S, Nagumo M, Okada H. Sound symbolism facilitates early verb learning. Cognition. 2008;109:54-65 pubmed publisher
    ..are sensitive to cross-linguistically valid sound-symbolic matches in the domain of action and that this sound symbolism facilitates verb learning in young children...
  7. Harris E, Beran M, Washburn D. Ordinal-list integration for symbolic, arbitrary, and analog stimuli by rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). J Gen Psychol. 2007;134:183-97 pubmed
    ..The consistent use of an ordinal rule, despite different types of training and varying degrees of experience with the 4 types of stimuli, suggested that the monkey had a robust concept of ordinality. ..
  8. Reis L, Hibbeln J. Cultural symbolism of fish and the psychotropic properties of omega-3 fatty acids. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2006;75:227-36 pubmed
    ..This understanding of the perception of fish as a symbolically healing or purifying food can assist current messages improving public health. ..
  9. Breyer N. ['No naturally shaped human foot would end in wedged-in, pointed toes" (Knud Ahlborn)--Wandervögel, youth movement and movement for rational footwear]. Med Ges Gesch. 2011;30:85-110 pubmed
  10. Kirmizioglu E, Tuydes Yaman H. Comprehensibility of traffic signs among urban drivers in Turkey. Accid Anal Prev. 2012;45:131-41 pubmed publisher
    ..The recently changed signs are among the oppositely associated ones proving the increased risk in traffic safety and need for more aggressive campaigning to publicize them. ..
  11. Colomé A, Laka I, Sebastián Gallés N. Language effects in addition: How you say it counts. Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2010;63:965-83 pubmed publisher
    ..Results of the three experiments are discussed in light of current models of numerical cognition. ..
  12. Ganea P, Allen M, Butler L, Carey S, DeLoache J. Toddlers' referential understanding of pictures. J Exp Child Psychol. 2009;104:283-95 pubmed publisher
    ..The 15-, 18-, and 24-month-old participants failed to make a consistent referential response. The results are discussed in terms of whether pictorial understanding at this age is associative or symbolic. ..
  13. Raposa B. [Body symbolics of anorectic women]. Psychiatr Hung. 2009;24:339-51 pubmed
    ..The imaginative expression of the similar symbols given by anorectic women help us to conceive the psychodynamical background and the subjective somatic-psychical meaning of the disease in a more complex way. ..
  14. Busch F. 'Can you push a camel through the eye of a needle?' Reflections on how the unconscious speaks to us and its clinical implications. Int J Psychoanal. 2009;90:53-68 pubmed publisher
    ..A clinical example is presented to demonstrate these perspectives. ..
  15. Biggs A, Kreager R, Gibson B, Villano M, Crowell C. Semantic and affective salience: the role of meaning and preference in attentional capture and disengagement. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2012;38:531-41 pubmed publisher
    ..This evidence emphasizes the differential roles of semantic knowledge versus affect on attentional capture. ..
  16. de França I, Pagliuca L, Baptista R, de França E, Coura A, de Souza J. [Symbolical violence in the access of disabled persons to basic health units]. Rev Bras Enferm. 2010;63:964-70 pubmed
    ..Access to UBS of PD is permeated by the symbolic violence. ..
  17. Spence C. Crossmodal correspondences: a tutorial review. Atten Percept Psychophys. 2011;73:971-95 pubmed publisher
    ..The literature reviewed here supports the view that crossmodal correspondences need to be considered alongside semantic and spatiotemporal congruency, among the key constraints that help our brains solve the crossmodal binding problem. ..
  18. Vermeir K. Openness versus secrecy? Historical and historiographical remarks. Br J Hist Sci. 2012;45:165-88 pubmed
    ..In particular, I focus on secrecy in relation to esoteric traditions, theatricality and allegory. ..
  19. Pepperberg I. Abstract concepts: data from a Grey parrot. Behav Processes. 2013;93:82-90 pubmed publisher
    ..He not only understood such concepts, but also appeared to learn them in ways more similar to humans than to apes. ..
  20. Arredondo González C, de la Cuesta Benjumea C, Avila Olivares J. Material world and social recognition: Nursing care in Spain (1855-1955). Invest Educ Enferm. 2015;33:128-37 pubmed publisher
    ..This material world influenced the social recognition of healthcare professionals at the time and the visibility of their work. ..
  21. Yoran Hegesh R, Kertzman S, Vishne T, Weizman A, Kotler M. Neuropsychological mechanisms of Digit Symbol Substitution Test impairment in Asperger Disorder. Psychiatry Res. 2009;166:35-45 pubmed publisher
    ..Future neuroimaging studies are needed to clarify the neural network involved in the differences in cognitive performance between AD subjects and normal controls. ..
  22. van Balkom H, Verhoeven L. Literacy learning in users of AAC: A neurocognitive perspective. Augment Altern Commun. 2010;26:149-57 pubmed publisher
  23. Rail D. The metaphor-gestalt synergy underlying the self-organisation of perception as a semiotic process. Nonlinear Dynamics Psychol Life Sci. 2013;17:205-21 pubmed
    ..We contend that the interaction between M-G and SM <=> L functions as a macro-micro comutation that governs perception as semiosis. We discuss how our model relates to current research in fractal time and verb formation. ..
  24. Bryen D. Vocabulary to support socially-valued adult roles. Augment Altern Commun. 2008;24:294-301 pubmed publisher
    ..Results suggest that, overall, an average of 55% of the identified words was currently available in these symbol sets. The need for easily accessible vocabulary that reflects socially-valued adult roles is discussed. ..
  25. Cantlon J. Math, monkeys, and the developing brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109 Suppl 1:10725-32 pubmed publisher
  26. Billow R. Sense and clinical sensibility. Int J Group Psychother. 2013;63:474-501 pubmed publisher
  27. Astle D, Summerfield J, Griffin I, Nobre A. Orienting attention to locations in mental representations. Atten Percept Psychophys. 2012;74:146-62 pubmed publisher
    ..3). (4) These costs and benefits of orienting spatial attention differ across iconic memory and VSTM representations when VSTM capacity is exceeded (Exp. 4). ..
  28. Emmerich N, Swinglehurst D, Maybin J, Park S, Quilligan S. Caring for quality of care: symbolic violence and the bureaucracies of audit. BMC Med Ethics. 2015;16:23 pubmed publisher
    ..Consistent with feminist conceptions of care, Quality of Care 'audits' should be reconfigured so as to offer a more nuanced and responsive form of evaluation. ..
  29. Hirata S, Ukita J, Kita S. Implicit phonetic symbolism in voicing of consonants and visual lightness using Garner's speeded classification task. Percept Mot Skills. 2011;113:929-40 pubmed
    The present study examines implicit phonetic symbolism which posits that arbitrary linguistic sound is related to certain aspects of characteristics of other modalities, such as color, touch, or emotion...
  30. Colman W. Synchronicity and the meaning-making psyche. J Anal Psychol. 2011;56:471-91 pubmed publisher
  31. Parratt J, Fahy K. A feminist critique of foundational nursing research and theory on transition to motherhood. Midwifery. 2011;27:445-51 pubmed publisher
    ..The usefulness of this outdated nursing theory in midwifery teaching, research or practice is debatable. ..
  32. Miles J, Proctor R. Correlations between spatial compatibility effects: are arrows more like locations or words?. Psychol Res. 2012;76:777-91 pubmed publisher
    ..Furthermore, the varying relations between these spatial compatibility effects indicate that the compatibility effect with one stimulus mode is not always predictive of the compatibility effect in another mode. ..
  33. Bruce S, Trief E, Cascella P. Teachers' and speech-language pathologists' perceptions about a tangible symbols intervention: efficacy, generalization, and recommendations. Augment Altern Commun. 2011;27:172-82 pubmed publisher
    ..Interviewees suggested improvements to the intervention and for generalization to the home setting, including labeling in the family's first language. ..
  34. Neimeyer R, Torres C, Smith D. The virtual dream: rewriting stories of loss and grief. Death Stud. 2011;35:646-72 pubmed
  35. Suanda S, Namy L. Young word learners' interpretations of words and symbolic gestures within the context of ambiguous reference. Child Dev. 2013;84:143-53 pubmed publisher
    ..Implications of these findings for the specialized nature of word learning and the development of lexical overlap avoidance are discussed. ..
  36. Przyborski A, Slunecko T. Learning to think iconically in the human and social sciences: iconic standards of understanding as a pivotal challenge for method development. Integr Psychol Behav Sci. 2012;46:39-56 pubmed publisher
    ..Fashion will be outlined as a prototypical field, in which an empirically based development of such methods might start off. ..
  37. Villarreal M, Fridman E, Leiguarda R. The effect of the visual context in the recognition of symbolic gestures. PLoS ONE. 2012;7:e29644 pubmed publisher
  38. Aveyard M. Some consonants sound curvy: effects of sound symbolism on object recognition. Mem Cognit. 2012;40:83-92 pubmed publisher
    Two experiments explored the influence of consonant sound symbolism on object recognition...
  39. Pollak T. The 'body-container': a new perspective on the 'body-ego'. Int J Psychoanal. 2009;90:487-506 pubmed publisher
    ..Two clinical examples illustrate the therapeutic work relevant to disturbances in the primal psycho-physical space organization at different developmental levels. ..
  40. Coeckelbergh M. Engineering good: how engineering metaphors help us to understand the moral life and change society. Sci Eng Ethics. 2010;16:371-85 pubmed publisher
    ..Responding to two problems of alienation and taking into account developments such as Fab Lab I then further explore the implications of this view for engineering and society. ..
  41. Byrnes S, Burkitt A, Grayden D, Meffin H. Spiking neuron model for temporal sequence recognition. Neural Comput. 2010;22:61-93 pubmed publisher
    ..The network is shown to store multiple overlapping sequences of events. It is robust to variation in symbol duration, it is scalable, and its performance degrades gracefully with perturbation of its parameters. ..
  42. Goetzmann L, Schwegler K. On the formation of figurative representations: An integrative psychoanalytic-neurobiological framework. Bull Menninger Clin. 2010;74:187-205 pubmed publisher
    ..Communication between these networks is based on selective memory recall in order to form, for example, figurative representations. ..
  43. Pulvermüller F. How neurons make meaning: brain mechanisms for embodied and abstract-symbolic semantics. Trends Cogn Sci. 2013;17:458-70 pubmed publisher
    ..Referential, combinatorial, emotional-affective, and abstract semantics are complementary mechanisms, each necessary for processing meaning in mind and brain. ..
  44. Leech E, Cress C. Indirect facilitation of speech in a late talking child by prompted production of picture symbols or signs. Augment Altern Commun. 2011;27:40-52 pubmed publisher
    ..The AAC intervention had a clear and rapid effect on the child's spoken word productions, although the child did not produce signs or symbols to criterion for most of the target words before producing them in speech. ..
  45. Carlson E. Precepting and symbolic interactionism--a theoretical look at preceptorship during clinical practice. J Adv Nurs. 2013;69:457-64 pubmed publisher
    ..It would therefore be encouraging to see further testing of suitable theories to interpret empirical findings and create opportunities for practice improvement. ..
  46. Zhou J, Zhu J, Chen M, Jiang M, Zhang Z, Zhan Z, et al. Logical thinking in pattern differentiation of traditional Chinese medicine. J Tradit Chin Med. 2013;33:137-40 pubmed
    ..TCM diagnosis reasoning method may lack rigorousness, continuity, systematic induction and deduction, but its logical thinking still can attain its goal following a process with rigorous, regulated and scientific formal logic. ..
  47. Van Opstal F, Gevers W, Osman M, Verguts T. Unconscious task application. Conscious Cogn. 2010;19:999-1006 pubmed publisher
    ..These results reveal that unconscious processing can generalize more widely than previously accepted. ..
  48. Hines S, Abbey J, Wilson J, Sacre S. Appropriateness of using a symbol to identify dementia and/or delirium. Int J Evid Based Healthc. 2010;8:126-8 pubmed publisher
  49. Desoete A, Ceulemans A, De Weerdt F, Pieters S. Can we predict mathematical learning disabilities from symbolic and non-symbolic comparison tasks in kindergarten? Findings from a longitudinal study. Br J Educ Psychol. 2012;82:64-81 pubmed publisher
    ..The combination of non-symbolic and symbolic deficits represents a risk of developing MD. ..
  50. Sato P, Gittelsohn J, Unsain R, Roble O, Scagliusi F. The use of Pierre Bourdieu's distinction concepts in scientific articles studying food and eating: A narrative review. Appetite. 2016;96:174-186 pubmed publisher
    ..found 38 articles, which were categorized main themes: food choice and provisioning, taste, social class, food symbolism, the body, and the scientific field of food and eating...
  51. De Smedt B, Gilmore C. Defective number module or impaired access? Numerical magnitude processing in first graders with mathematical difficulties. J Exp Child Psychol. 2011;108:278-92 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings shed light on the types of intervention that may help children who struggle with learning mathematics...
  52. Dore M, Matilla García M, Marin M. Testing for nonlinear dependence in financial markets. Nonlinear Dynamics Psychol Life Sci. 2011;15:407-18 pubmed
    ..We show that the test based on symbolic dynamics outperforms other tests with the advantage that it depends only on one free parameter, namely the embedding dimension. This does not hold for other tests for nonlinearity. ..
  53. Robinson K, Dubé A. Children's understanding of addition and subtraction concepts. J Exp Child Psychol. 2009;103:532-45 pubmed publisher
    ..The findings highlight the lack of developmental increases and the large individual differences in conceptual understanding on two arithmetic concepts during the early school years. ..