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Exploring the conceptual and semantic structure of human kinship: An experimental investigation of Chinese kin terms

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 December 2010

Chao Liu
Affiliation:
State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China. geyue818@163.comLuoyj@bnu.edu.cnpsychbrain.bnu.edu.cn/teachcms/luoyuejia.htm Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1109. liuchao@umich.eduwww-personal.umich.edu/~liuchao/index.html
Yue Ge
Affiliation:
State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China. geyue818@163.comLuoyj@bnu.edu.cnpsychbrain.bnu.edu.cn/teachcms/luoyuejia.htm
Xiaoqin Mai
Affiliation:
Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1109. maixq@umich.edu
Yue-Jia Luo
Affiliation:
State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China. geyue818@163.comLuoyj@bnu.edu.cnpsychbrain.bnu.edu.cn/teachcms/luoyuejia.htm

Abstract

We designed an experiment to test the application of optimality theory (OT) in kinship terminology studies. Specifically, we examined the OT constraints within a set of behavioral data using Chinese kin terms. The results from this behavioral approach support and extend Jones' linguistic approach by identifying underlying cognitive mechanisms that can explain and predict behavioral responses in kinship identification.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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References

Chen, T. S. & Shryock, J. K. (1932) Chinese relationship terms. American Anthropologist 34:623–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Halford, G. S., Wilson, W. H. & Phillips, S. (1998) Processing capacity defined by relational complexity: Implications for comparative, developmental, and cognitive psychology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21(6):831–64.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Huang, S. & Jia, W. (2000) The cultural connotations and communicative functions of Chinese kinship terms. American Communication Journal 3(3). http://acjournal.org/holdings/vol3/Iss3/spec1/huang_jia.html.Google Scholar
Kroeber, A. L. (1933) Process in the Chinese kinship system. American Anthropologist 35:151–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Liu, C., Ge, Y., Schiller, I., Mai, X., Igoa, J. M. & Luo, Y. (submitted) Kinship representation differs across cultures: A comparison between Chinese and Spanish speakers.Google Scholar

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