Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

16 November 2017, CoSaQ, Galit Agmon

Speaker: Galit Agmon (Jerusalem)
Title: CoSaQ lecture on downward monotonicity
Date: Thursday 16 November 2017
Time: 11:30-13:00
Location: Room 6.05, PC Hoofthuis, Spuistraat 134, Amsterdam

Abstract: “A small number of circles are blue” and “few circles are blue” seem to convey the same meaning – that the quantity of blue circles is below some contextual criterion. Moreover, both contain a negative degree element ("few" as the negative of "many"; "small" as the negative of "large"). However, "few" is downward monotone while "a small number" is not. Downward Monotonicity is a formal logical property of certain linguistic expressions, but is it also cognitively relevant for language processing? In this talk I will present evidence for cognitive correlates of downward monotonicity, by presenting results of RT and fMRI experiments that compare e.g. "few" to "a small number", and argue that the cognitive complexity of downward monotonicity is part of the mental representation of the sentence.

For more information, see or contact Jakub Szymanik at .

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