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Semantic property activation during the interpretation of combined concepts

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Interpreting a novel conceptual combination often involves selecting and using a relation to link the constituent concepts (e.g., interpreting a plastic pot as a pot made of plastic). In two experiments, we presented the head noun along with a property that, while always at least plausibly true of the head noun, may be more or less consistent with a particular relational interpretation of the combined concept. We then asked the participants to verify particular relational interpretations of the target combination. The results indicate that manipulating what is currently active about the head noun in this way affects the acceptability of different relational interpretations of the combined concept.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-04-01

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