Celeste Kidd Publishes on Why We Disagree So Often

24 Apr, 2023

Celeste Kidd Publishes on Why We Disagree So Often

Latent Diversity in Human Concepts was recently published by Louis Marti, Shengyi Wu, Steven T. Piantadosi, and Celeste Kidd in Open Mind!

Many social and legal conflicts hinge on semantic disagreements. Understanding the origins and implications of these disagreements necessitates novel methods for identifying and quantifying variation in semantic cognition between individuals. The article collected conceptual similarity ratings and feature judgments from a variety of words in two domains. The researchers analyzed this data using a non-parametric clustering scheme, as well as an ecological statistical estimator, in order to infer the number of different variants of common concepts that exist in the population.

The results show at least ten to thirty quantifiably different variants of word meanings exist for even common nouns. Further, people are unaware of this variation and exhibit a strong bias to erroneously believe that other people share their semantics. Diversity in Human Concepts highlights conceptual factors that likely interfere with productive political and social discourse.

This research was also featured on the Berkeley News website in an article titled, "I say dog, you say chicken? New study explores why we disagree so often" written by Jason Pohl| on March 16, 2023.

From the article:

This research is significant, Kidd said, because it further shows how most people we meet will not have the exact same concept of ostensibly clear-cut things, like animals. Their concepts might actually be radically different from each other. The research transcends semantic arguments, too. It could help track how public perceptions of major public policies evolve over time and whether there’s more alignment in concepts or less.

“When people are disagreeing, it may not always be about what they think it is,” Kidd said. “It could be stemming from something as simple as their concepts not being aligned.”

To read the full article, Click Here!

To read the research article, Click Here!