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date: 20 October 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Concepts lie at the heart of our mental life, supporting cognitive functions from language comprehension and production to reasoning, remembering, and recognising objects. Therefore, the study of the representation and processing of conceptual knowledge has been a central activity across many disciplines, traditionally in the realm of philosophy, and more recently psycholinguistics, neuropsychology, and neuroscience. This article examines the role of concepts and conceptual structure in the comprehension and production of language. It considers evidence from beyond the traditional boundaries of psycholinguistics, in particular from cognitive neuropsychology. Brain-damaged patients with deficits in one category or domain of knowledge have provided valuable insights into the nature of conceptual representations, and represent an alternative study population with which to test the claims of psycholinguistically motivated theories of conceptual knowledge. After presenting a brief overview of concepts and meanings, the article focuses on componentiality, feature distinctiveness, feature correlation, and the conceptual structure account and semantic deficits, as well as the speed of intact processing.

Keywords: concepts, psycholinguistics, conceptual structure, language comprehension, cognitive neuropsychology, componentiality, feature distinctiveness, feature correlation, conceptual structure account, semantic deficits

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