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  Classifier categories reflect, but do not affect conceptual organization

Speed, L., Chen, J., Huettig, F., & Majid, A. (2021). Classifier categories reflect, but do not affect conceptual organization. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 47(4), 625-640. doi:10.1037/xlm0000967.

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 Creators:
Speed, Laura1, Author
Chen, Jidong2, Author
Huettig, Falk3, 4, Author              
Majid, Asifa5, Author              
Affiliations:
1Center for Language Studies, External Organizations, ou_55238              
2California State University, Fresno, CA, USA, ou_persistent22              
3Psychology of Language Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society, ou_792545              
4Radboud University Nijmegen, External Organizations, ou_3055479              
5University of York, York, UK, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: classifiers, linguistic relativity; language and thought; object concepts; Mandarin; Dutch
 Abstract: Do we structure object-related conceptual information according to real-world sensorimotor experience, or can it also be shaped by linguistic information? This study investigates whether a feature of language coded in grammar—numeral classifiers—affects the conceptual representation of objects. We compared speakers of Mandarin (a classifier language) with speakers of Dutch (a language without classifiers) on how they judged object similarity in four studies. In the first three studies, participants had to rate how similar a target object was to four comparison objects, one of which shared a classifier with the target. Objects were presented as either words or pictures. Overall, the target object was always rated as most similar to the object with the shared classifier, but this was the case regardless of the language of the participant. In a final study employing a successive pile-sorting task, we also found that the underlying object concepts were similar for speakers of Mandarin and Dutch. Speakers of a non-classifier language are therefore sensitive to the same conceptual similarities that underlie classifier systems in a classifier language. Classifier systems may therefore reflect conceptual structure, rather than shape it.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020-08-182020-11-052021-05
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1037/xlm0000967
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Title: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 47 (4) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 625 - 640 Identifier: ISSN: 0278-7393
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954927606766