Meaning and the Outsourced Mind

Frank Keil (Yale Psychology)
Event time: 
Friday, December 16, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
LingSem (DOW 201) See map
370 Temple Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

For roughly 40 years, one school of thought has argued that “meanings just ain’t in the head”. To the extent tha tsuch a claim is true, what are the psychological
consequences for how we think about word meanings? Here, I present 3 sets of studies exploring some possible consequences. The first set of studies demonstrates that
constant outsourcing of knowledge practices, such as searching for information on the internet, can cause illusions of individual knowledge, an effect that also occurs with manipulations of presumed expert communities. The second set of studies argues that an analogous influence occurs for lexical items and creates a “misplaced meaning” effect. The third set of studies asks whether, in spite of these illusions
of knowing, we are able to efficiently “lock” onto expert knowledge of natural kind categories. It argues that, sadly, erroneous notions of essences lead to systematic distortions in how we defer to experts. I end by asking what implications, if any, these studies might have for semantics as typically studied in linguistics.

Event Type: 
Lunch Talks