The Glasgow Norms: Ratings of 5,500 words on nine scales

Graham G Scott, Anne Keitel, Marc Becirspahic, Bo Yao, Sara C. Sereno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Glasgow Norms are a set of normative ratings for 5,553 English words on nine psycholinguistic dimensions: arousal, valence, dominance, concreteness, imageability, familiarity, age of acquisition, semantic size, and gender association. The Glasgow Norms are unique in several respects. First, the corpus itself is relatively large, while simultaneously providing norms across a substantial number of lexical dimensions. Second, for any given subset of words, the same participants provided ratings across all nine dimensions (33 participants/word, on average). Third, two novel dimensions—semantic size and gender association—are included. Finally, the corpus contains a set of 379 ambiguous words that are presented either alone (e.g., toast) or with information that selects an alternative sense (e.g., toast (bread), toast (speech)). The relationships between the dimensions of the Glasgow Norms were initially investigated by assessing their correlations. In addition, a principal component analysis revealed four main factors, accounting for 82% of the variance (Visualization, Emotion, Salience, and Exposure). The validity of the Glasgow Norms was established via comparisons of our ratings to 18 different sets of current psycholinguistic norms. The dimension of size was tested with megastudy data, confirming findings from past studies that have explicitly examined this variable. Alternative senses of ambiguous words (i.e., disambiguated forms), when discordant on a given dimension, seemingly led to appropriately distinct ratings. Informal comparisons between the ratings of ambiguous words and of their alternative senses showed different patterns that likely depended on several factors (the number of senses, their relative strengths, and the rating scales themselves). Overall, the Glasgow Norms provide a valuable resource—in particular, for researchers investigating the role of word recognition in language comprehension.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1258-1270
Number of pages13
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Early online date11 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Age of acquisition
  • Arousal
  • Concreteness
  • Dominance
  • Familiarity
  • Gender association
  • Imageability
  • Psycholinguistic norms
  • Semantic size
  • Valence


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