Navigation Links
Decoding the dictionary: Study suggests lexicon evolved to fit in the brain
Date:4/30/2008

Troy, N.Y. The latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary boasts 22,000 pages of definitions. While that may seem far from succinct, new research suggests the reference manual is meticulously organized to be as concise as possible a format that mirrors the way our brains make sense of and categorize the countless words in our vast vocabulary.

Dictionaries have often been thought of as a frustratingly tangled web of words where the definition of word A refers users to word B, which is defined using word C, which ends up referring users back to word A, said Mark Changizi, assistant professor of cognitive science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. But this research suggests that all words are grounded in a small set of atomic words and its likely that the dictionarys large-scale organization has been driven over time by the way humans mentally systematize words and their meanings.

Dictionaries are built like an inverted pyramid. The most complex words (e.g., albacore and antelope) sit at the top and are defined by words that are more basic, and thus lower on the pyramid. Eventually all words are linked to a small number of words called atomic words, (such as act and group) that are so fundamental they cannot be defined by simpler terms. The number of levels of definition it takes to get from a word to an atomic word is called the hierarchical level of the word.

Changizis research, which was published online this week and will appear in the June print edition of the Journal of Cognitive Systems Research, indicates that the dictionaries we use every day utilize approximately the optimal number of hierarchical levels and provide a visual roadmap of how the lexicon itself has culturally evolved over tens of thousands of years to help lower the overall brain space required to encode it, according to Changizi.

Many other human inventions such as writing and other human visual signs have been designed either explicitly
'/>"/>

Contact: Amber Cleveland
clevea@rpi.edu
518-276-2146
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Decoding effects of toxins on embryo development
2. Childhood obesity indicates greater risk of school absenteeism, Penn study reveals
3. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer
4. Study begins to reveal clues to the cause and progression of sepsis
5. Clones on task serve greater good, evolutionary study shows
6. New study warns limited carbon market puts 20 percent of tropical forest at risk
7. New study examines how rearing environment can alter navigation
8. Study links cat disease to flame retardants in furniture and to pet food
9. New continent and species discovered in Atlantic study
10. Study shows link between alcohol consumption and hiv disease progression
11. Feeling hot, hot, hot: New study suggests ways to control fever-induced seizures
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/22/2014)... lead a five-year, $3 million study to determine whether ... transport of dissolved organic matter (DOM) through the Connecticut ... chemical composition and water quality of the watershed and ... Science Foundation,s MacroSystems Biology program, researchers will collect data ... in Canada and runs through five U.S. states, before ...
(Date:4/22/2014)... JUPITER, FL, April 22, 2014 Scientists from the ... identified a protein complex that plays a critical but ... , The study, which showed a novel role for ... 2014 in the journal eLife , a publisher ... Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust. , "This is ...
(Date:4/22/2014)... Inspired by the fist-like club of a mantis ... California, Riverside, in collaboration with University of Southern California ... composite materials that is more impact resistant and tougher ... we study the club of this tiny crustacean, the ... things we use every day," said David Kisailus, a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Connecticut River watershed study will assess impacts of extreme rain events 2Connecticut River watershed study will assess impacts of extreme rain events 3Scientists identify critical new protein complex involved in learning and memory 2Mantis shrimp stronger than airplanes 2Mantis shrimp stronger than airplanes 3
... MA Obesity is associated with a worse prostate ... genetic mutation, suggest results from a new study led ... Institute and Brigham and Women,s Hospital researchers. Among prostate ... a more than 50% increased risk of dying from ...
... trash could spell big trouble for marine life, starting with ... and the University of Exeter who report their evidence in ... Current Biology on December 2. Those marine worms play ... for other animals. Work by Stephanie Wright from the ...
... Vicente was recently awarded a grant of more than $2 ... continue Phase III of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, ... of Chemistry and Professor of Chemotherapy/Materials in the Department of ... the IMSD Program is giving us the opportunity to continue ...
Cached Biology News:Genetic mutation may play key role in risk of lethal prostate cancer in overweight patients 2Microplastics make marine worms sick 2LSU receives $2 million from NIH for biomedical sciences training for underrepresented students 2
(Date:1/15/2014)... 2014 Freeslate, Inc ., the ... that Lupin Limited, one of India’s top five pharmaceutical ... PharmD System for high throughput solid form screening. ... on a wide range of quality, affordable generic and ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... 2014 Carahsoft and CDS Federal Services ... 2014 at 2pm EST (11am PST), “Natural Language Processing: ... on how technology can turn raw, heterogeneous data into ... agencies. The online webinar will last approximately one hour. ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... New York, NY (PRWEB) January 14, 2014 ... coverage of Alliqua, Inc. (OTCQB: ALQA). Alliqua is an ... products to serve the wound care market. , Free ... Alliqua was restructured with a seasoned management team and ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... Toronto, Canada (PRWEB) January 14, 2014 ... and its motives and methods in product development and ... of the industry. This mistrust, fueled by concerns about ... further fed by reports of spectacular fines to the ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Lupin Selects Freeslate’s CM Protégé PharmD System to Accelerate Polymorph Screening for Drug Development 2Lupin Selects Freeslate’s CM Protégé PharmD System to Accelerate Polymorph Screening for Drug Development 3Webcast - Natural Language Processing: Converting Raw Data into Actionable Knowledge – Hosted by Carahsoft and CDS Federal Services 2EquitiesIQ Initiates Coverage of Alliqua, Inc. 2EquitiesIQ Initiates Coverage of Alliqua, Inc. 3The Sunshine Act: Necessary Regulation or Unnecessary Dysregulation? New Life Science Webinar Hosted by Xtalks and IRB Services 2The Sunshine Act: Necessary Regulation or Unnecessary Dysregulation? New Life Science Webinar Hosted by Xtalks and IRB Services 3
... molecules in a living cell is something that has long ... diamond, may well be able to do this and potentially ... for, hard-to-cure diseases such as cancer. In a ... Physics and the German Physical Society,s New Journal of ...
... & Co. Inc., a unit of Oppenheimer Holdings, is pleased ... as Managing Director in the Healthcare group of the Firm,s ... science business. He will report to Brian McCarthy, Managing Director ... 2003, Matthias had worked at JMP Securities, where he was ...
... FREMONT, Calif., May 18, 2011 Biomerix Corporation and ... Biomerix 3D Scaffold , a novel three-dimensional tissue ... the Biomerix 3D Scaffold to research institutions across Europe. ... polycarbonate polyurethane , the Biomerix 3D Scaffold is ...
Cached Biology Technology:'Critical baby step' taken for spying life on a molecular scale 2Biomerix Corporation Reaches European Distribution Agreement with Cellon S.A. 2
delta-like 1 homolog (Drosophila)...
...
... BMH 71-18 mutS and ES1301 mutS ... coli. Use of these strains prevents repair ... leading to high mutation efficiencies and making ... GeneEditor and Altered Sites II Mutagenesis Systems. ...
Polaroid black & white positive, 3 x 4 inch pack film, ISO 3000/ 36 ASA DIN (20 expsures). For use in the Polaroid Direct Copy Camera (PHC34)....
Biology Products: