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Semantic Knowledge of Living and Nonliving Things

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  • UserCarrie Ankerstein, Department of English, Universitaet des Saarlandes; and Department of Human Communication Sciences, the University of Sheffield.
  • ClockTuesday 02 June 2009, 16:00-17:30
  • HouseGR-06/07, English Faculty Building.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Susan Rolfe.

Some models of semantic memory claim that items from living and nonliving domains have different feature-type profiles. Data from feature generation and perceptual modality rating tasks were compared to evaluate this claim. Results from two living (animals and fruit/vegetables) and two nonliving (tools and vehicles) categories showed that sensorimotoric features were important in object knowledge across both domains. In addition, significant cross-domain similarities and within domain differences indicated that feature profiles were not determined simply as a function of the living and nonliving domain distinction. The current data support a model of semantic memory rooted in perceptual and motor processes with reduced salience for the “living/nonliving” construct.

This talk is part of the RCEAL Tuesday Colloquia series.

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