Language and the Creation of New Knowledge

2/28/2014; 10 minutes

How are humans able to create new knowledge from language? Research in our lab addresses three relevant human capacities. The first is to activate mental representations of things and events that we've previously experienced from language. The second is to use the combinatorial principles of grammar to bind old knowledge together in new ways. And the third is the ability to use knowledge from one domain of experience to make new knowledge about some other domain (through metaphor, for instance). But there remain many open questions about what capacities we bring to bear to create new knowledge through language, how individuals differ in their deployment of these capacities, and what the consequences are of failing to deploy them in typical ways. (#27917)

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