Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1871-1340
  • E-ISSN: 1871-1375



Previous evidence has implicated personal relevance as a predictive factor in lexical access. Westbury (2014) showed that personally relevant words were rated as having a higher subjective familiarity than words that were not personally relevant, suggesting that personally relevant words are processed more fluently than less personally relevant words. Here we extend this work by defining a measure of personal relevance that does not rely on human judgments but is rather derived from first-order co-occurrence of words with the first-person singular personal pronoun, . We show that words estimated as most personally relevant are recognized more quickly, named faster, judged as more familiar, and used by infants earlier than words that are less personally relevant. Self-relevance is also a strong predictor of several measures that are usually measured only by human judgments or their computational estimates, such as subjective familiarity, age of acquisition, imageability, concreteness, and body-object interaction. We have made all self-relevance estimates (as well as the raw data and code from our experiments) available at https://osf.io/gdb6h/.

Available under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.

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