According to logical theories of meaning, a meaning of an expression can be formalized and encoded in truth conditions. Vagueness of the language and individual differences between people are a challenge to incorporate into the meaning representations. In this paper, we propose a new approach to study truth-conditional representations of vague concepts. For a case study, we selected two natural language quantifiers most and more than half. We conducted two online experiments, each with 90 native English speakers. In the first experiment, we tested between-subjects variability in meaning representations. In the second experiment, we tested the stability of meaning representations over time by testing the same group of participants in two experimental sessions. In both experiments, participants performed the verification task. They verified a sentence with a quantifier (e.g., “Most of the gleerbs are feezda.”) based on the numerical information provided in the second sentence, (e.g., “60% of the gleerbs are feezda”). To investigate between-subject and within-subject differences in meaning representations, we proposed an extended version of the Diffusion Decision Model with two parameters capturing truth conditions and vagueness. We fit the model to responses and reaction times data. In the first experiment, we found substantial between-subject differences in representations of most as reflected by the variability in the truth conditions. Moreover, we found that the verification of most is proportion-dependent as reflected in the reaction time effect and model parameter. In the second experiment, we showed that quantifier representations are stable over time as reflected in stable model parameters across two experimental sessions. These findings challenge semantic theories that assume the truth-conditional equivalence of most and more than half and contribute to the representational theory of vague concepts. The current study presents a promising approach to study semantic representations, which can have a wide application in experimental linguistics.

Uncovering the Structure of Semantic Representations Using a Computational Model of Decision‐Making / Ramotowska, Sonia; Steinert‐threlkeld, Shane; van Maanen, Leendert; Szymanik, Jakub. - In: COGNITIVE SCIENCE. - ISSN 0364-0213. - 47:1(2023), pp. e1323401-e1323439. [10.1111/cogs.13234]

Uncovering the Structure of Semantic Representations Using a Computational Model of Decision‐Making

Szymanik, Jakub
2023-01-01

Abstract

According to logical theories of meaning, a meaning of an expression can be formalized and encoded in truth conditions. Vagueness of the language and individual differences between people are a challenge to incorporate into the meaning representations. In this paper, we propose a new approach to study truth-conditional representations of vague concepts. For a case study, we selected two natural language quantifiers most and more than half. We conducted two online experiments, each with 90 native English speakers. In the first experiment, we tested between-subjects variability in meaning representations. In the second experiment, we tested the stability of meaning representations over time by testing the same group of participants in two experimental sessions. In both experiments, participants performed the verification task. They verified a sentence with a quantifier (e.g., “Most of the gleerbs are feezda.”) based on the numerical information provided in the second sentence, (e.g., “60% of the gleerbs are feezda”). To investigate between-subject and within-subject differences in meaning representations, we proposed an extended version of the Diffusion Decision Model with two parameters capturing truth conditions and vagueness. We fit the model to responses and reaction times data. In the first experiment, we found substantial between-subject differences in representations of most as reflected by the variability in the truth conditions. Moreover, we found that the verification of most is proportion-dependent as reflected in the reaction time effect and model parameter. In the second experiment, we showed that quantifier representations are stable over time as reflected in stable model parameters across two experimental sessions. These findings challenge semantic theories that assume the truth-conditional equivalence of most and more than half and contribute to the representational theory of vague concepts. The current study presents a promising approach to study semantic representations, which can have a wide application in experimental linguistics.
2023
1
Ramotowska, Sonia; Steinert‐threlkeld, Shane; van Maanen, Leendert; Szymanik, Jakub
Uncovering the Structure of Semantic Representations Using a Computational Model of Decision‐Making / Ramotowska, Sonia; Steinert‐threlkeld, Shane; van Maanen, Leendert; Szymanik, Jakub. - In: COGNITIVE SCIENCE. - ISSN 0364-0213. - 47:1(2023), pp. e1323401-e1323439. [10.1111/cogs.13234]
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Cognitive Science - 2023 - Ramotowska - Uncovering the Structure of Semantic Representations Using a Computational Model of.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione editoriale (Publisher’s layout)
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 2.01 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
2.01 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/364530
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 2
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 2
social impact