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Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 308176, 10 pages
Research Article

Augmenting Weak Semantic Cognitive Maps with an “Abstractness” Dimension

Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive MS 2A1, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444, USA

Received 14 December 2012; Accepted 29 April 2013

Academic Editor: Rajan Bhattacharyya

Copyright © 2013 Alexei V. Samsonovich and Giorgio A. Ascoli. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The emergent consensus on dimensional models of sentiment, appraisal, emotions, and values is on the semantics of the principal dimensions, typically interpreted as valence, arousal, and dominance. The notion of weak semantic maps was introduced recently as distribution of representations in abstract spaces that are not derived from human judgments, psychometrics, or any other a priori information about their semantics. Instead, they are defined entirely by binary semantic relations among representations, such as synonymy and antonymy. An interesting question concerns the ability of the antonymy-based semantic maps to capture all “universal” semantic dimensions. The present work shows that those narrow weak semantic maps are not complete in this sense and can be augmented with other semantic relations. Specifically, including hyponym-hypernym relations yields a new semantic dimension of the map labeled here “abstractness” (or ontological generality) that is not reducible to any dimensions represented by antonym pairs or to traditional affective space dimensions. It is expected that including other semantic relations (e.g., meronymy/holonymy) will also result in the addition of new semantic dimensions to the map. These findings have broad implications for automated quantitative evaluation of the meaning of text and may shed light on the nature of human subjective experience.