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The modifier effect in within-category induction: Default inheritance in complex noun phrases

Jonsson, M. L. and Hampton, J. A. (2012). The modifier effect in within-category induction: Default inheritance in complex noun phrases. Language and Cognitive Processes, 27(1), pp. 90-116. doi: 10.1080/01690965.2010.544107

Abstract

Within-category induction is the projection of a generic property from a class (Apples are sweet) to a subtype of that class (Chinese apples are sweet). The modifier effect refers to the discovery reported by Connolly et al., that the subtype statement tends to be judged less likely to be true than the original unmodified sentence. The effect was replicated and shown to be moderated by the typicality of the modifier (Experiment 1). Likelihood judgements were also found to correlate between modified and unmodified versions of sentences. Experiment 2 elicited justifications, which suggested three types of reason for the effect—pragmatics, knowledge-based reasoning, and uncertainty about attribute inheritance. It is argued that the results provide clear evidence for the default inheritance of prototypical attributes in modified concepts, although a full account of the effect remains to be given.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Concepts, Prototypes, Compositionality, Conceptual combination
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/1009
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