In this target article the following hypotheses are discussed: (1) Colour is autonomous: a perceptuolinguistic and behavioural universal. (2) It is completely described by three independent attributes: hue, brightness, and saturation: (3) Phenomenologically and psychophysically there are four unique hues: red, green, blue, and yellow; (4) The unique hues are underpinned by two opponent psychophysical and/or neuronal channels: red/green, blue/yellow. The relevant literature is reviewed. We conclude: (i) Psychophysics and neurophysiology fail to set nontrivial constraints on colour categorization. (ii) (...) Linguistic evidence provides no grounds for the universality of basic colour categories. (iii) Neither the opponent hues red/green, blue/yellow nor hue, brightness, and saturation are intrinsic to a universal concept of colour. (iv) Colour is not autonomous. (shrink)
This paper analyzes four instances in talk of generalization about people, that is, of using statements about one or more people as the basis of stating something about a category. Generalization can be seen as a categorization practice which involves a reflexive relationship between the generalized-from person or people and the generalized-to category. One thing that is accomplished through generalization is instruction in how to understand the identity of the generalized-from person or people, so in addition to being understood (...) as a practice of categorization, generalization can also be understood as a practice of identification. Somewhat incidentally, this paper also illustrates the importance of certain methodological issues related to membership categorization analysis and contributes to the growing body of work that connects membership categorization analysis with sequential conversation analysis. (shrink)
Although speech categories are defined by multiple acoustic dimensions, some are perceptually weighted more than others and there are residual effects of native-language weightings in non-native speech perception. Recent research on nonlinguistic sound category learning suggests that the distribution characteristics of experienced sounds influence perceptual cue weights: Increasing variability across a dimension leads listeners to rely upon it less in subsequent category learning (Holt & Lotto, 2006). The present experiment investigated the implications of this among native Japanese learning English /r/-/l/ (...) categories. Training was accomplished using a videogame paradigm that emphasizes associations among sound categories, visual information, and players’ responses to videogame characters rather than overt categorization or explicit feedback. Subjects who played the game for 2.5 h across 5 days exhibited improvements in /r/-/l/ perception on par with 2–4 weeks of explicit categorization training in previous research and exhibited a shift toward more native-like perceptual cue weights. (shrink)
This study investigated the relative contribution of perception/cognition and language-specific semantics in nonverbal categorization of spatial relations. English and Korean speakers completed a video-based similarity judgment task involving containment, support, tight fit, and loose fit. Both perception/cognition and language served as resources for categorization, and allocation between the two depended on the target relation and the features contrasted in the choices. Whereas perceptual/cognitive salience for containment and tight-fit features guided categorization in many contexts, language-specific semantics influenced (...) class='Hi'>categorization where the two features competed for similarity judgment and when the target relation was tight support, a domain where spatial relations are perceptually diverse. In the latter contexts, each group categorized more in line with semantics of their language, that is, containment/support for English and tight/loose fit for Korean. We conclude that language guides spatial categorization when perception/cognition alone is not sufficient. In this way, language is an integral part of our cognitive domain of space. (shrink)
Two experiments examined the impact of causal relations between features on categorization in 5- to 6-year-old children and adults. Participants learned artificial categories containing instances with causally related features and noncausal features. They then selected the most likely category member from a series of novel test pairs. Classification patterns and logistic regression were used to diagnose the presence of independent effects of causal coherence, causal status, and relational centrality. Adult classification was driven primarily by coherence when causal links were (...) deterministic (Experiment 1) but showed additional influences of causal status when links were probabilistic (Experiment 2). Children’s classification was based primarily on causal coherence in both cases. There was no effect of relational centrality in either age group. These results suggest that the generative model (Rehder, 2003a) provides a good account of causal categorization in children as well as adults. (shrink)
For over a century, the question of the relation of language to thought has been extensively discussed in the case of color categorization, where two main views prevail. The relativist view claims that color categories are relative while the universalistic view argues that color categories are universal. Relativists also argue that color categories are linguistically determined, and universalists that they are perceptually determined. Recently, the argument for the perceptual determination of color categorization has been undermined, and the relativist (...) view has regained some ground. This paper argues that although the universalistic account of color categorization has been called into question, this is not enough to establish relativism. Color categories can still be said to be universal or particular, independent of the accounts of their universality or relativity. Because of its polarization, the debate has disregarded some issues that are key in our understanding of color categorization: the question of what a color category is and how to identify it. (shrink)
This article examines the common-sense and methodical ways in which “the citizen” is produced and enrolled as an active participant in “sustainable” regional planning. Using Membership Categorization Analysis, we explicate how the categorization procedures in the Foreword of a draft regional planning policy interactionally produce the identity of “the citizen” and “civic values and obligations” in relation to geographic place and institutional categories. Furthermore, we show how positioning practices establish a relationship between authors (government) and readers (citizens) where (...) both are ascribed with the same moral values and obligations toward the region. Hence, “the citizen” as an active participant in “sustainable” regional planning is viewed as a practical accomplishment that is underpinned by a normative morality associated with the task of producing orderliness in “text-in-interaction.”. (shrink)
Following Sacks's model membership categorization analysis (MCA) of a suicidal person's conclusion 'I have no one to turn to,' the paper examines in MCA terms a political actor's twin conclusions that murder-suicide is a rational course of action. The case in question is the killer's reasoning in the Montreal Massacre as revealed in his reported announcement at the scene (notably 'You're all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists') and recovered suicide letter (for example, 'For why persevere to exist (...) if it is only to please the government'). (shrink)
The operations and processes that the human brain employs to achieve fast visual categorization remain a matter of debate. A first issue concerns the timing and place of rapid visual categorization and to what extent it can be performed with an early feed-forward pass of information through the visual system. A second issue involves the categorization of stimuli that do not reach visual awareness. There is disagreement over the degree to which these stimuli activate the same early (...) mechanisms as stimuli that are consciously perceived. We employed continuous flash suppression, EEG recordings and machine learning techniques to study visual categorization of seen and unseen stimuli. Our classifiers were able to predict from the EEG recordings the category of stimuli on seen trials but not on unseen trials. Rapid categorization of conscious images could be detected around 100 ms on the occipital electrodes, consistent with a fast, feed-forward mechanism of target detection. For the invisible stimuli, however, continuous flash suppression eliminated all traces of early processing. Our results support the idea of a fast mechanism of categorization and suggest that this early categorization process plays an important role in later, more subtle categorizations and perceptual processes. (shrink)
Research on empathy for pain has provided evidence of an empathic bias toward racial ingroup members. In this study, we used for the first time the “minimal group paradigm” in which participants were assigned to artificial groups and required to perform pain judgments of pictures of hands and feet in painful or non-painful situations from self, ingroup and outgroup-perspectives. Findings showed that the mere categorization of people into two distinct arbitrary social groups appears to be sufficient to elicit an (...) ingroup bias in empathy for pain. (shrink)
Two experiments examined the typicality structure of contrasting political categories. In Experiment 1, two separate groups of participants rated the typicality of 15 individuals, including political figures and media personalities, with respect to the categories Democrat or Republican. The relation between the two sets of ratings was negative, linear, and extremely strong, r = −.9957. Essentially, one category was treated as a mirror image of the other. Experiment 2 replicated this result, showing some boundary conditions, and extending the result to (...) liberal and conservative categories. The same method was applied to two other pairs of contrasting categories, healthy and junk foods, and male and female jobs. For those categories, the relation between contrasting pairs was weaker and there was less of a direct trade-off between typicality in one category versus typicality in its opposite. The results are discussed in terms of implications for political decision making and reasoning, and conceptual representation. (shrink)
Visual objects can be represented by their similarities to a small number of reference shapes or prototypes. This method yields low-dimensional (and therefore computationally tractable) representations, which support both the recognition of familiar shapes and the categorization of novel ones. In this note, we show how such representations can be used in a variety of tasks involving novel objects: viewpoint-invariant recognition, recovery of a canonical view, estimation of pose, and prediction of an arbitrary view. The unifying principle in all (...) these cases is the representation of the view space of the novel object as an interpolation of the view spaces of the reference shapes. (shrink)
Changes between the learning and testing contexts affect learning, memory, and generalization. We examined whether a change (between learning and testing) in the person children were interacting with affects generalization. Three, 4-, and 5-year-old children were trained on eight novel noun categories by one experimenter. Children were tested for their ability to generalize the label to a new category member by either the same experimenter who trained them or by a novel experimenter. Three-year-old children’s performance was not affected by who (...) they were tested by. Four- and 5-year-old children’s performance was lower when tested by the novel experimenter. The results are discussed in terms of source monitoring and the effect of perceptual context change on category generalization. (shrink)
We investigated the understanding of causal systems categories—categories defined by common causal structure rather than by common domain content—among college students. We asked students who were either novices or experts in the physical sciences to sort descriptions of real-world phenomena that varied in their causal structure (e.g., negative feedback vs. causal chain) and in their content domain (e.g., economics vs. biology). Our hypothesis was that there would be a shift from domain-based sorting to causal sorting with increasing expertise in the (...) relevant domains. This prediction was borne out: The novice groups sorted primarily by domain and the expert group sorted by causal category. These results suggest that science training facilitates insight about causal structures. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to present two kinds of analogical representational change, both occurring early in the analogy-making process, and then, using these two kinds of change, to present a model unifying one sort of analogy-making and categorization. The proposed unification rests on three key claims: (1) a certain type of rapid representational abstraction is crucial to making the relevant analogies (this is the first kind of representational change; a computer model is presented that demonstrates this kind (...) of abstraction), (2) rapid abstractions are induced by retrieval across large psychological distances, and (3) both categorizations and analogies supply understandings of perceptual input via construing, which is a proposed type of categorization (this is the second kind of representational change). It is construing that finalizes the unification. (shrink)
2. Invariant Sensorimotor Features ("Affordances"). To say this is not to declare oneself a Gibsonian, whatever that means. It is merely to point out that what a sensorimotor system can do is determined by what can be extracted from its motor interactions with its sensory input. If you lack sonar sensors, then your sensorimotor system cannot do what a bat's can do, at least not without the help of instruments. Light stimulation affords color vision for those of us with the (...) right sensory apparatus, but not for those of us who are color-blind. The geometric fact that, when we move, the "shadows" cast on our retina by nearby objects move faster than the shadows of further objects means that, for those of us with normal vision, our visual input affords depth perception. From more complicated facts of projective and solid geometry it follows that a 3-dimensional shape, such as, say, a boomerang, can be recognized as being the same shape Ð and the same size Ð even though the size and shape of its shadow on our retinas changes as we move in relation to it or it moves in relation to us. Its shape is said to be invariant under these sensorimotor transformations, and our visual systems can detect and extract that invariance, and translate it into a visual constancy. So we keep seeing a boomerang of the same shape and size even though the shape and size of its retinal shadows keep changing. (shrink)
A current set of concerns in ethnomethodology and conversation analysis includes the question of how conversation analysis (CA) can deal with studies of social structure or studies of talk in institutional settings.In this paper a focus is placed on how the accomplishment of "work" and "categorization" are interrelated. Two particular instances are examined: a ski school and a package delivery service. Membership categorization is shown to be a complex, on-going, interactive accomplishment. The parties act in ways that are (...) "predicatively-bound" (i.e. predicates of action, rights, obligations, etc.) which allow inferences to be made by each of the parties about the other based on these actions; these enable each to accept/confirm/validate the other's self-categorization and to produce, via their own actions, activities that are congruent with the other's self-categorization. Activities of the parties are category-relevant and category-generative. Thus, "work" or "the work of the organization", (e.g. for Choice, a package delivery service), is being accomplished in and through the talk and interaction of the parties. (shrink)
We argue that the confusing pattern of evidence concerning colour categorization reported by Saunders & van Brakel is unsurprising. On a perspectival view, categorization may follow semantic or pragmatic attributes. Colour lacks clear semantic attributes; as a result categorization is necessarily pragmatic and context-sensitive. This view of colour categorization helps explain the developmental delay in colour naming.
More than a decade of experimental research confirms that external linguistic information provided in the form of word labels can induce a "mutually exclusive" bias against double naming and lead children to infer the name of novel objects and parts (Markman, 1989). Linguistic labels have also been shown to encourage more sophisticated reasoning, particularly with respect to superordinate and atypical object categorization (Gelman & Coley, 1990; Waxman & Markow, 1995). By contrast, however, the inverse possibility that the linguistic (...) labeling of basic-level objects may also developmentally support the kind of "phonological reorganization" (Werker & Tees, 1984) observed within infant speech categorization has yet to be theoretically isolated and experimentally explored. Yet the dynamic of relying on labels to inform object categorization clearly presupposes that potential word labels themselves have already been classified into language-specific phonemic categories. However, a two-staged strategy of first relying on basic-level object categories to refine speech categorization, and then exploiting such learned speech categories to fine tune object categorization would reveal a cyclically opportunistic learner. A uniform assumption of a one to one pairing between (types of) words and (types of) objects allows bootstrapping not only from language to object classification, but also from basic object categorization to phonemic speech classification. (shrink)
Universal ranks in folk biological taxonomy probably apply to taxonomies of cultural artifacts. We cannot call folk biological cognition domain-specific and modular. Color categorization may manifest unique organization, which would result from known neurology and the nature of color as an attribute. But folk biology does not adduce equivalent evidence. A global process of increasing differentiation similarly affects folk taxonomy, color categorization, and other practices germane to Atran's anthropology of science; this is beclouded by claims of specificity and (...) modularity. (shrink)
The target article postulates that rule-based and similarity-based categorization are best described by a unitary process. A number of recent empirical dissociations between rule-based and similarity-based categorization severely challenge this view. Collectively, these new results provide strong evidence that these two types of category learning are mediated by separate systems.
This study addresses the issue of artifact kinds from a psychological and cognitive perspective. The primary interest of the investigation lies in understanding how artifacts are categorized and what are the properties people rely on for their identification. According to a classical philosophical definition artifacts form an autonomous class of instances including all and only those objects that do not exist in nature, but are artificial, in the sense that they are made by an artĭfex. This definition suggests that artifacts (...) are classified primarily on the basis of the recognition of their artificial nature. Nevertheless, many psychological and cognitive studies maintain that artifacts are categorized mainly on the basis of the recognition of the function they have been made to accomplish. Since tools are also categorized primarily on the basis of their function, this would imply that artifacts and tools are represented in the same way. In the study participants categorized a set of objects (denoted by words) once as tools and once as artifacts. Results show that reaction times (RTs) are faster in the artifact categorization condition than in the tool categorization condition. This pattern indicates that artifacts and tools are not represented in the same way and that the identification of the members of each class is carried out in the basis of different criteria. (shrink)
Two categorization arguments pose particular problems for localist connectionist models. The internal representations of localist networks do not reflect the variability within categories in the environment, whereas networks with distributed internal representations do reflect this essential feature of categories. We provide a real biological example of perceptual categorization in the monkey that seems to require population coding (i.e., distributed internal representations).
Philosophers and psychologists widely hold that artifact categories – just like biological categories – are individuated by their function. But recent empirical findings in psychology question this assumption. My proposal is to suggest a way of squaring these findings with the central role function should play in individuating artifact categories. But in order to do so, we need to give up on the standard account of artifact function, according to which function is fixed by design, and replace it with a (...) more context-sensitive account, according to which function attributions depend on the explanatory context and, as a result, categorization also depends on the explanatory context, just as the empirical findings from psychology suggest. I argue that the recent ‘modal theory of function’ originally proposed to explain biological function, is capable of providing such an account of artifact function. (shrink)
We aim to show that far-related primates like humans and the capuchin monkeys show interesting correspondences in terms of artifact characterization and categorization. We investigate this issue by using a philosophically-inspired definition of physical artifact which, developed for human artifacts, turns out to be applicable for cross-species comparison. In this approach an artifact is created when an entity is intentionally selected and some capacities attributed to it (often characterizing a purpose). Behavioral studies suggest that this notion of artifact is (...) not specific to the human kind. On the basis of the results of a series of field observations and experiments on wild capuchin monkeys that routinely use stone hammers and anvils, we show that the notions of intentional selection and attributed capacity appear to be at play in capuchins as well. The study also suggests that functional criteria and contextualization play a fundamental role in terms of artifact recognition and categorization in nonhuman primates. (shrink)
This essay explores the universal cognitive bases of biological taxonomy and taxonomic inference using cross-cultural experimental work with urbanized Americans and forest-dwelling Maya Indians. A universal, essentialist appreciation of generic species appears as the causal foundation for the taxonomic arrangement of biodiversity, and for inference about the distribution of causally-related properties that underlie biodiversity. Universal folkbiological taxonomy is domain-specific: its structure does not spontaneously or invariably arise in other cognitive domains, like substances, artifacts or persons. It is plausibly an innately-determined (...) evolutionary adaptation to relevant and recurrent aspects of ancestral hominid environments, such as the need to recognize, locate, react to, and profit from many ambient species. Folkbiological concepts are special players in cultural evolution, whose native stability attaches to more variable and difficult-to-learn representational forms, thus enhancing the latter's prospects for regularity and recurrence in transmission within and across cultures. This includes knowledge that cumulatively enriches (folk expertise), overrides (religious belief) or otherwise transcends (science) the commonsense ontology prescribed by folkbiology. Finally, the studies summarized here indicate that results gathered from “standard populations” in regard to biological categorization and reasoning more often than not fail to generalize in straightforward ways to humanity at large. This suggests the need for much more serious attention to cross-cultural research on basic cognitive processes. (shrink)
The proposal regarding rules and similarity is considered in terms of ability to provide insights regarding previous work on reasoning and categorization. For reasoning, the issue is the relation between this proposal and one-process as well as two-process accounts of deduction and induction. For categorization, the issue is how the proposal would simultaneously explain both similarity-to-rule and rule-to-similarity shifts.
The representation of similarities is a viable concept for a cognitive extension of visual psychophysics to the recognition of shapes, bringing issues such as similarity and categorization back into that field. However, as a framework it appears too general to place constraints on a particular process model for categorization. In particular, a preference for Chorus-like schemes with respect to structure-oriented approaches is unwarranted.
The origin of features from nonfeatural information is a problem that should concern all theories of object categorization and recognition, not just the flexible feature approach. In contrast to the idea that new features must originate from combinations of simpler fixed features, we argue that holistic features can be created from a direct imprinting on the visual medium. Furthermore, featural descriptions can emerge from processes that by themselves do not operate on feature detectors. Once acquired, features can be decomposed (...) into component features if required by other categorizations. We therefore argue that it is not necessary to separate holistic and componential approaches to representations, because the latter is a development of the former. The requirements for representational flexibility outstrip the performance of any existing computational models, but specific mechanisms of feature creation are discussed and evaluated. Challenges for feature creation mechanisms are discussed together with the constraints (perceptual, statistical, functional, and task) they will need to satisfy. (shrink)
The idea that reasoning is a singular accomplishment of the human species has an ancient pedigree.Yet this idea remains as controversial as it is ancient. Those who would deny reasoning to nonhuman animals typically hold a language-based conception of inference which places it beyond the reach of languageless creatures. Others reject such an anthropocentric conception of reasoning on the basis of similar performance by humans and animals in some reasoning tasks, such as transitive inference. Here, building on the modal similarity (...) theory of Vigo [J Exp Theor Artif Intell, 2008 (in press)], we offer an account in which reasoning depends on a core suite of subsymbolic processes for similarity assessment, discrimination, and categorization. We argue that premise-based inference operates through these subsymbolic processes, even in humans. Given the robust discrimination and categorization abilities of some species of nonhuman animals, we believe that they should also be regarded as capable of simple forms of inference. Finally, we explain how this account of reasoning applies to the kinds of transitive inferences that many nonhuman animals display. (shrink)
Flexible categorization clearly requires an adaptive component, but at what level of representation? We have investigated categorization in sequence learning that requires the extraction of abstract rules, but no modification of sensory primitives. This motivates the need to make explicit the distinction between sensory-level “atomic” features as opposed to concept-level “abstract” features, and the proposal that flexible categorization probably relies on learning at the abstract feature level.
Many psychological studies of categorization and reasoning use undergraduates to make claims about human conceptualization. Generalizability of findings to other populations is often assumed but rarely tested. Even when comparative studies are conducted, it may be challenging to interpret differences. As a partial remedy, in the present studies we adopt a 'triangulation strategy' to evaluate the ways expertise and culturally different belief systems can lead to different ways of conceptualizing the biological world. We use three groups (US bird experts, (...) US undergraduates, and ordinary Itza' Maya) and two sets of birds (North American and Central American). Categorization tasks show considerable similarity among the three groups' taxonomic sorts, but also systematic differences. Notably, US expert categorization is more similar to Itza' than to US novice categorization. The differences are magnified on inductive reasoning tasks where only undergraduates show patterns of judgment that are largely consistent with current models of category-based taxonomic inference. The Maya commonly employ causal and ecological reasoning rather than taxonomic reasoning. Experts use a mixture of strategies (including causal and ecological reasoning), only some of which current models explain. US and Itza' informants differed markedly when reasoning about passerines (songbirds), reflecting the somewhat different role that songbirds play in the two cultures. The results call into question the importance of similarity-based notions of typicality and central tendency in natural categorization and reasoning. These findings also show that relative expertise leads to a convergence of thought that transcends cultural boundaries and shared experiences. (shrink)
How a visual stimulus is initially categorized as a face in a network of human brain areas remains largely unclear. Hierarchical neuro-computational models of face perception assume that the visual stimulus is first decomposed in local parts in lower order visual areas. These parts would then be combined into a global representation in higher order face-sensitive areas of the occipito-temporal cortex. Here we tested this view in fMRI with visual stimuli that are categorized as faces based on their global configuration (...) rather than their local parts (2-tones Mooney figures and Arcimboldo’s facelike paintings). Compared to the same inverted visual stimuli that are not categorized as faces, these stimuli activated the right middle fusiform gyrus (“Fusiform face area”, FFA) and superior temporal sulcus (pSTS), with no significant activation in the posteriorly located inferior occipital gyrus (i.e., no “occipital face area”, OFA). This observation is strengthened by behavioral and neural evidence for normal face categorization of these stimuli in a brain-damaged prosopagnosic patient (PS) whose intact right middle fusiform gyrus and superior temporal sulcus are devoid of any potential face-sensitive inputs from the lesioned right inferior occipital cortex. Together, these observations indicate that face-preferential activation may emerge in higher order visual areas of the right hemisphere without any face-preferential inputs from lower order visual areas, supporting a non-hierarchical view of face perception in the visual cortex. (shrink)
The prime objective of this paper is to conduct phoneme categorization experiments for Indian languages. In this direction a major effort has been made to categorize Hindi phonemes using a time delay neural network (TDNN), and compare the recognition scores with other languages. A total of six neural nets aimed at the major coarse of phonetic classes in Hindi were trained. Evaluation of each net on 350 training tokens and 40 test tokens revealed a 99% recognition rate for vowel (...) classes, 87% for unvoiced stops, 82% for voiced stops, 94.7% for semi vowels, 98.1% for nasals and 96.4% for fricatives. A new feature vector normalisation technique has been proposed to improve the recognition scores. (shrink)
In this paper, I critically examine Berys Gaut’s proposals regarding ethical criticism, that is, regarding the question of whether, and if so how, an ethical evaluation of a work of art can be considered amongst the determinants of the work’s value as art. I critically examine Gaut’s proposed taxonomy on the possible positions on the ethical criticism question as well as his own influential answer to such question: ethicism. My critique focuses on one missing element, I argue, in Gaut’s overall (...) approach and in ethicism as he formulates and defends it: reference to artistic categorization and to the aims and commitments artworks have in virtue of the artistic categories they belong to. I show how reference to artistic categorization facilitates the generation of a more fine-grained taxonomy of positions than the one Gaut proposes. Such taxonomy makes it possible to distinguish between two very different types of positions within what Gaut dubs ‘contextualism’: what I call limited or restricted ethicism and particularism. As an application of this more fine-grained taxonomy, I show how Noël Carroll’s ‘moderate moralism’, which Gaut convincingly claims to be incomplete, need not reduce to either ethicism or contextualism as Gaut claims: the view can also be completed in the direction of a limited or restricted ethicism. As for Gaut’s own proposal, surprisingly it itself proves to have leanings towards particularism, in so far as it delegates the question of the artistic (or aesthetic) relevance of ethical features to case-by-case decisions. Again, reference to artistic categorization would offer Gaut grounds to be less sceptical on the possibility of finding general philosophical principles governing the relevance of ethical features to artistic worth. Further, lack of reference to artistic categorization can be shown to affect Gaut’s claims within all three the arguments he puts forward in defence of ethicism—the moral beauty, the cognitive, and the merited-response argument. I show such claims to be ill founded when not implausible. (shrink)
The linguistic system generalizes over rich conceptual structures and, at the same time, has to guarantee that the correct inferences can be drawn as to what the message is intended to convey. In this context the question needs to be answered whether entities not realized in grammar, i.e. implicit arguments, are a necessary part of the interpretation of the expression. In this paper it will be shown that this is not the case with particles (as in ‘stick s.th. on’), which (...) do not realize a reference object as their prepositional pendants do (‘stick s.th. on s.th.’). The findings lead to the conclusion that any truth‐conditional description of implicit arguments should discard them as being conceptually inactive and information‐structurally irrelevant. As will be shown, it is only under specific contextual conditions that a construal of the corresponding argument is coerced. Only then the semantic representation needs to be adjusted, which can be characterized as an instance of lexical re‐analysis. Departing from theoretical evidence it will be shown that with particles no reference object is conceptually active on the basis of two reaction time studies with an object categorization task: It is only full prepositions that prime a potential reference object which is revealed by the reaction to conceptually congruous target line drawings presented just after both prepositions and particles. In this context, two additional aspects will be dealt with. First, the type of priming triggered by inherent sortal information (as in stick the label on the …) needs to be discussed. It will be shown that a semantic fit between the sortal restrictions activated by the preposition and a depicted object results in inhibitory effects. Second, there is evidence that certain grammatical information (such as gender) about an object expression does not enter the conceptual processing of a corresponding target object drawing, which is revealed by the fact that modifying grammatical information in the linguistic prime material proves to be irrelevant for the procedural effort the categorization task requires. (shrink)