language architecture
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Jamie Reilly et al.
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Tulving (1972) characterized semantic memory as a vast repository of meaning that provides a substrate for language and many other cognitive processes. Tulving’s perspective resulted in a paradigm shift in the study of human conceptual knowledge. Semantic research has since evolved as a multidisciplinary endeavor advanced byfields with their own entrenched theoretical perspectives and idiosyncratic lexicons (e.g.,concept has different meanings in philosophy vs. cognitive psychology). Yet, no uniform nomenclature exists for translating results and aligning theories across disparate fields. Core semantic constructs remain underspecified to an extent that falsifiability and incremental theory-building remain elusive. One consequence of these limitations is that similar arguments about semantic phenomena are continually recycled without resolution. The aim of this multidisciplinary workgroup (N=53) was to establish consensus definitions for some of the major recurring constructs in semantic research(e.g., concept, amodal, abstract). These efforts yielded a glossary consisting of succinct definitions, agreement, subjective confidence ratings, relevant theoretical background,and principled dissenting views. These core definitions will potentially yield benchmarks for aligning perspectives and improving cross-disciplinary communication in semantic research.