Alternative conceptions of semantic theory

Arnold L. Glass, Keith J. Holyoak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


It is argued that theories of semantic memory have diverged in a manner that parallels current linguistic controversy concerning the representation of meaning. The feature-comparison model (Smith, Shoben & Rips, 1974) applies the linguistic theory of Lakoff (1972) to predict people's reaction times to verify sentences, while the marker-search model, described here, uses the type of semantic representation outlined by Katz (1972) to explain a similar range of data. The two models are described and the evidence for each is reviewed. Available evidence supports the marker-search model, but disconfirms a major prediction of the feature-comparison model. It is argued that the feature-comparison model is in principle inadequate as a model of semantic representation, unless its conception of semantic components is substantially alatered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-339
Number of pages27
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1974

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Alternative conceptions of semantic theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this