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ERIC Number: EJ1156132
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Distinguishing Discrete and Gradient Category Structure in Language: Insights from Verb-Particle Constructions
Brehm, Laurel; Goldrick, Matthew
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v43 n10 p1537-1556 Oct 2017
The current work uses memory errors to examine the mental representation of verb-particle constructions (VPCs; e.g., "make up" the story, "cut up the meat"). Some evidence suggests that VPCs are represented by a cline in which the relationship between the VPC and its component elements ranges from highly transparent ("cut up") to highly idiosyncratic ("make up"). Other evidence supports a multiple class representation, characterizing VPCs as belonging to discretely separated classes differing in semantic and syntactic structure. We outline a novel paradigm to investigate the representation of VPCs in which we elicit illusory conjunctions, or memory errors sensitive to syntactic structure. We then use a novel application of piecewise regression to demonstrate that the resulting error pattern follows a cline rather than discrete classes. A preregistered replication verifies these findings, and a final preregistered study verifies that these errors reflect syntactic structure. This provides evidence for gradient rather than discrete representations across levels of representation in language processing.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: BCS1344269