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Representation of numerical quantities

Trainee Achievements

Representation of numerical quantities

A specialist in formal linguistics, trainee Erin Zaroukian was deeply intrigued by what she learned about psychological research on how approximate numerical quantities are represented in the mind, research she was exposed to through IGERT 'breadth' coursework and participation in the laboratory of associated IGERT faculty Justin Halberda in the Psychology Department. This interest led her to study the meanings of approximate-quantity words such as 'about', 'approximately', 'around', and 'maybe'. She discovered that number of such words is surprisingly large, and that they all differ subtly in meaning. Her dissertation research captures these meanings precisely using the tools of formal semantics, and strives to connect psychological theories of mental quantity with linguistic theories of meaning.