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The Specification of Plurals

Huffman, Nikole Diane (2011) The Specification of Plurals. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The experiments in this dissertation investigate factors that influence the level of detail within plural mental representations. The first chapter focuses on properties of noun phrases and event structure that allow comprehenders to create a highly specified plural mental representation (i.e., a representation in which the individuals that make up a plural are represented distinctly) from a previously underspecified plural mental representation. The second chapter in this dissertation focuses on properties of the sentential context that influence comprehenders' mental representations of plural predicates. In contrast to traditional theories of plural mental representations, which have argued that plurals are left underspecified during comprehension (Johnson-Laird, 1983), these data indicate that oftentimes plurals are not left underspecified, but have highly specified mental representations. The experiments in this dissertation show that syntactic, semantic and pragmatic factors influence the degree of specification of plural mental representations. These findings have important consequences for theories of underspecification and theories of mental representations during sentence comprehension.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Huffman, Nikole Dianendh11@pitt.eduNDH11
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWarren, Tessatessa@pitt.eduTESSA
Committee MemberPerfetti, Charlesperfetti@pitt.eduPERFETTI
Committee MemberReichle, Erikreichle@pitt.eduREICHLE
Committee MemberDickey, Michael Walshmdickey@pitt.eduMDICKEY
Date: 29 June 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 28 February 2011
Approval Date: 29 June 2011
Submission Date: 5 April 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: plurals; semantics; sentence processing
Other ID:, etd-04052011-115747
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:34
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:38


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