A pilot normative study for photographs of celebrities in Hong Kong

Annie Fung, Anthony Pak-Hin Kong, Kai Yan Lau

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review


Psycholinguistic normative data have been facilitative to the research on the underlying mechanism for lexical processing (e.g., Lam, 2009). Increasing number of studies for various norms in Hong Kong Chinese (e.g., frequency of words in Hong Kong Cantonese; Lai, & Winterstein, 2020 and familiarity and age of acquisition (AoA) in naming action pictures; Tse, 2005) have been conducted. In this study, the naming of proper nouns (e.g., Bonin et al., 2012) was targeted by developing a set of norms for celebrity naming based on local native Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong. Specifically, this investigation collects a set of colored photographs of local and international celebrities and obtains ratings of various variables including AoA, facial distinctiveness, familiarity, surname frequency, emotional indicators, as well as behavioral data in naming including accuracy, naming and errors, such as tip-of-tongue (ToT).

This study involving recruitment of 48 healthy adults (40-65 years, with a 1:1 gender ratio, stratified into two education groups) is being conducted in three phases.
The first phase generates a list of exemplars of celebrity names that are common, culturally and geographically specific to unimpaired speakers (n=16) across 22 selected occupational categories. Exemplars present in at least 20% of the responses will be selected as potential target stimuli and three photographs per corresponding celebrity will be chosen and standardized.
The second phase examines the face-name agreement of the photos chosen in Phase 1. Another group of participants (n=8) will be asked to imagine a given celebrity’s face and compare the mental image created with the photographs presented for an agreement rating. For each celebrity, the photograph with the highest accumulated score will be used in the third phase.
In Phase 3, the finalized photographs from Phase 2 will first be presented to the third group of participants (n=12), who will be required to verbally tell the first name that came up to their mind as soon as possible. Response time (RT), accuracy (i.e., whether the naming matches with the celebrity’s identity), erroneous responses, and reasons for ‘no response’ (e.g. ToT) will be recorded. Subsequently, names of the chosen celebrities will be presented to the fourth group of participants (n=12) for subjective ratings on familiarity, AoA, face distinctiveness, and affective evaluation, using a seven-point scale.

Pilot results
Some pilot data of Phase 1 were collected from four participants (two female and two male speakers, education level not controlled). A total of 242 celebrity names across 22 selected occupational categories were generated (See Table 1). Further data collection is ongoing.

The pilot results reinforced the cultural and geographic specificity of celebrity norms, as only 2.4% of the generated exemplars overlapped with those collected based on speakers of British-English (Smith-Spark, 2006). We believe that this study will fill the gap in Chinese psycholinguistic norm studies. As such it distinguishes itself from other reported normative studies in Hong Kong Cantonese and the final deliverables should be useful to researchers who need such information, for example in designing psycholinguistics experiments in Cantonese.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021
EventAcademy of Aphasia 59th Annual Meeting - Online
Duration: 24 Oct 202126 Oct 2021


CompetitionAcademy of Aphasia 59th Annual Meeting


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