Tests and Models of Non-compositional Concepts

Abstract

The question of under what conditions conceptual representation is compositional remains debatable within cognitive science. This paper proposes a well developed mathematical apparatus for a probabilistic representation of concepts, drawing upon methods developed in quantum theory to propose a formal test that can determine whether a specific conceptual combination is compositional, or not. This test examines a joint probability distribution modeling the combination, asking whether or not it is factorizable. Empirical studies indicate that some combinations should be considered non-compositionally.


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