Semantics Definition Psychology Theories and Example

Semantics Definition Psychology

Semantics concerns the meanings of words, signs, symbols, and the phrases that represent them. More specifically, semantics definition psychology is the study of meanings through the relationships of words, how they are used, and how they are said.

Semantics definition psychology is not a very valid concept, although dialectical therapy may be an approximation: e.g. discussing problems in order to overcome them. It is more like a semantics of medicine or a semantics of disease. In the context of the soul specifically the word is insulting to use.

If I tell you I’m going to eat a piece of cake, you would interpret it literally. Maybe you would even ask for a piece. If instead, I told you my homework was a piece of cake, you would interpret that I meant it was easy, unless of course, I’m taking cooking classes.

Logicians have only related language to models in various ways; psychologists have only related it to the mind; the real task, however, is to show how language relates to the world through the agency of the mind. This task is, at present, beyond the resources of Cognitive Science, but there is some chance of success by pooling the skills and knowledge of its contributing disciplines.

Theories and Example of Semantics in Psychology

Referential Theory of Meaning: The referential theory of meaning basically states that words mean what they refer to. For example, how can you show the referent for the word “love” or “success”? Neither of these words has an universal referent. Each of these words will refer to the same thing, but will have different “senses.” That is to say, they will essentially mean different things as one pertains solely to the morning and one solely to the night, despite them referring to the exact same thing.

Model-Theoretic Semantics (Truth-Theoretic Semantics): Also known as formal semantics, this approach to semantics seeks to understand the meaning of words through the construction of mathematical models and algorithms that mimic the principles used by humans to define the relations between words and their meanings. While these theories seem to help refine what a word might mean, they do not mimic or provide much information as to how we, as humans, actually represent word meaning.

Semantic Networks: The semantic network approach to semantics is based on the idea that the meaning of a word is obtained through the manner in which it is embedded in a network of other meanings. In a semantic network the connections between individual word meanings have meaning themselves. These networks thus organize semantic information hierarchically. For example, an emu is a type of flightless bird, which is a type of bird, which is a type of animal, etc. While seemingly complicated, semantic network models are an economical way of organizing the meaning of words. In these networks, each level has a set of information stored with it (ex: the level of bird has the information “has wings” stored with it).

Semantic Features: This theory of word meaning is not based on the position of a word within a network, but instead word meaning is based on the decomposition of a word into smaler units of meaning. For example, the word “boyfriend” may be composed of the semantic features “male” and “human.” The biggest problem with this theory is that it is difficult to test and to determine what counts as a “semantic feature” and not the word which you are defining.

Semantic Microfeatures: The semantic microfeature approach to semantics is very similar to the semantic feature approach, but there is one main difference between the two. Instead of a list of features that is accessed serially, this theory states the word meaning is accessed through the simultaneous activation of various microfeatures. One of the most important features of this model is that while microfeatures may correspond to simple semantic features, they may correspond to more abstract features that have no straightforward linguistic equivalent.