This report examines of how people interpret unusual noun phrases. Sixty-three Introduction to Psychology students either (a) rated novel noun phrases ("fish pipe") for sensibility on a I - 10 scale, or (b) gave an interpretation of it. Both groups reported their conscious experiences during the task, using free report and a brief questionnaire. It was found that participants interpreted the phrase by developing a scenario. Furthermore, a strong negative correlation was found between the number of distinct interpretations and the sensibility rating for a phrase: Phrases with fewer interpretations were given higher ratings of sensibility. Ratings of sensibility therefore seem to result from evaluating the number and "fit" of the possible scenarios for a phrase.
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference
©1996 by the University of Northern Iowa
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA
Graham, Jackie K. and Yates, Jack
"Interpreting Novel Phrases,"
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference: Vol. 1:
1, Article 10.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/csbsproceedings/vol1/iss1/10