Comprehending complex concepts

Gregory Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent theories of concepts have raised the issue of how people combine simple concepts (like engine and repair) to form complex concepts (like engine repair). This article approaches this issue by asking how people comprehend modified noun phrases of this sort. One explanation of how complex concepts are understood (the feature weighting model) provides a simple mechanism in which the primary feature of the modifying concept is made more salient in the modified concept. nother explanation focuses on how world knowledge directs the combination process. The two explanations are compared in their ability to account for the interpretation of various kinds of noun phrases. Two experiments are reported which evaluate the feature weighting model's predictions for adjective-noun phrases. These contrasts suggest that the combination process does require reference to world knowledge. The consequences of accepting such an account are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-562
Number of pages34
JournalCognitive Science
Volume12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1988

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Repair
Engines
weighting
Experiments
interpretation
experiment
ability
Noun Phrase
World Knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Murphy, G. (1988). Comprehending complex concepts. Cognitive Science, 12(4), 529-562.

Comprehending complex concepts. / Murphy, Gregory.

In: Cognitive Science, Vol. 12, No. 4, 10.1988, p. 529-562.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Murphy, G 1988, 'Comprehending complex concepts', Cognitive Science, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 529-562.
Murphy G. Comprehending complex concepts. Cognitive Science. 1988 Oct;12(4):529-562.
Murphy, Gregory. / Comprehending complex concepts. In: Cognitive Science. 1988 ; Vol. 12, No. 4. pp. 529-562.
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