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11-06-2021 | Original Article

Thematic and other semantic relations central to abstract (and concrete) concepts

Auteurs: Melissa Troyer, Ken McRae

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 8/2022

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Abstract

In this article, we discuss multiple types of meaningful (semantic) relations underlying abstract (as compared to concrete) concepts. We adopt the viewpoint that words act as cues to meaning (Elman in Ment Lexicon 6(1):1–34, 2011; Lupyan and Lewis in Lang Cogn Neurosci 34(10):1319–1337, 2019), which is dependent on the dynamic contents of a comprehender’s mental model of the situation. This view foregrounds the importance of both linguistic and real-world context as individuals make sense of words, flexibly access relevant knowledge, and understand described events and situations. We discuss theories of, and experimental work on, abstract concepts through the lens of the importance of thematic and other semantic relations. We then tie these findings to the sentence processing literature in which such meaningful relations within sentential contexts are often experimentally manipulated. In this literature, some specific classes/types of abstract words have been studied, although not comprehensively, and with limited connection to the literature on knowledge underlying abstract concepts reviewed herein. We conclude by arguing that the ways in which humans understand relatively more abstract concepts, in particular, can be informed by the careful study of words presented not in isolation, but rather in situational and linguistic contexts, and as a function of individual differences in knowledge, goals, and beliefs.
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Metagegevens
Titel
Thematic and other semantic relations central to abstract (and concrete) concepts
Auteurs
Melissa Troyer
Ken McRae
Publicatiedatum
11-06-2021
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 8/2022
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-021-01484-8

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