The Organization of Mental Verbs and Folk Theories of Knowing

P. J. Schwanenflugel, William Fabricius, C. R. Noyes, K. D. Bigler, J. M. Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Folk theories of knowing in North American adults were studied by examining the organization of mental verbs in two tasks: (a) a Similarity Judgment Task in which subjects rated the similarity of verb pairs in terms of the way the mind is used, and (b) a Verb Extension Task in which subjects identified the mental verbs applicable to a variety of scenarios requiring specific mental activities. Organizational structure was assessed using multidimensional scaling and additive similarity tree analyses. An Attribute Rating Task was used to describe the characteristics which organized the various dimensions and clusters obtained in the scaling solutions. The folk theory of mind displayed was a naive information processing model with interactive and constructive components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-395
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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