Dr. Rebecca Weil - Negation vs. Falsification: When “not true” is different from “false”

Negation vs. Falsification: When “not true” is different from “false”
Activity Date: 
Monday, Nov 2, 2015

People are bombarded daily by a vast amount of information coming from a variety of sources. One of the challenges is to distinguish true from false information. How do people succeed in doing this? In the present talk I will focus on two mechanisms, namely internal correction and external correction and will compare these mechanisms.
In social contexts people might use information to evaluate the sources of the information. For instance, hearing someone saying something blatantly false may result in a negative evaluation of this person. I am interested in the interplay of evaluation processes and correction processes in social context. I will present three experiments and discuss the results and their implications in the light of recent findings in negation and falsification research.
“Exploring the differences of negation in German and Hebrew”
The negation of adjectives can be described in terms of two different mental models. If an adjective has a direct opposite (e.g., smart-stupid) the negation of this adjective (e.g., not smart) is immediately understood as its opposite (e.g., stupid). However in cases in which no direct opposite exists (e.g., romantic) the negation is mentally represented as “not X” (e.g., not romantic). This reasoning rests on empirical studies of the language Hebrew. However, in other languages, for example English or German, there are additional ways of negating adjectives, for instance by adding a prefix to the adjective (e.g., unromantic). The present talk focuses on a research project that is concerned with comparing the negation of adjectives in German and Hebrew. The main goal of the project is to answer the question whether negated adjectives differ in their mental representation depending on whether they are processed in Hebrew or in German.