Feature Availability in Conceptual Combination

K. Springer, Gregory Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three experiments investigated the interpretation of conceptual combinations such as peeled apples. These experiments focused on verification of combination properties. Some properties (e.g., round for peeled apples) were verifiable by virtue of the noun alone, whereas others (e.g., white for peeled apples) required the combination of adjective and noun and generation of a new property not associated with either. Surprisingly, combination properties were verified more easily than noun properties, even under conditions of extremely rapid presentation. This finding contradicts a simple compositional model of combination in which components are analyzed prior to interpretation of the overall combination meaning. The implications for models of conceptual combination are discussed. © 1992, Association for Psychological Science. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-117
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992


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