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semantic satiation


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  • semantic satiation - where rapid seeing/saying repetition of a word, like canoe-canoe-canoe... produces a loss of meaningfulness, but repetition of a nonsense overt response having the same shape, nuka-nuka-nuka...does not.

    taken from :

    January 21, 2009

  • I wonder if this has any relation to perseveration.

    March 7, 2010

  • "Semantic satiation (also semantic saturation) is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who can only process the speech as repeated meaningless sounds."

    --Wikipedia (

    The same page tells us the following:

    "The phrase "semantic satiation" was coined by Leon Jakobovits James in his doctoral dissertation at McGill University, Montreal, Canada awarded in 1962. Prior to that, the expression "verbal satiation" had been used along with terms that express the idea of mental fatigue."

    February 27, 2012

  • Thanks, 'zu. But this can come about w/o repetition in my experience. I guess it belongs in the category of brain fart? :o)

    February 27, 2012

  • Ooh, thanks, ruzuzu, for bringing this useful phrase to our attention!

    This would be a good candidate for reesetee's "It has a name?!" list.

    February 29, 2012

  • Happened to me this morning in the shower with the word blame.

    February 29, 2012

  • pterodactyl: I agree--but we should be careful not to say it too often (I'd hate for it to lose its meaning).

    yarb: That was sad, but it also made me laugh. (I'm sorry.)

    March 1, 2012