Ambiguity in Linguistic Meaning in Relation to Perceptual Multistability

  • W. Wildgen
Part of the Springer Series in Synergetics book series (SSSYN, volume 64)


The central question assessed in this article is directly related to the topic of the conference: Is semantic ambiguity in some way related to perceptual multistability? In the first section a phenomenal classification of perceptual ambiguity is given (immediate bistabilities in perception, perception of textures, spatial rotation in mental imagination). In the second and third sections several types of semantic ambiguity and their relation to perceptual multistability are described. Section 4 discusses textual ambiguities and Sect. 5 shows a model of emotional ambiguity (badl, bad2) based on catastrophe theory. In general the analogy between semantic and perceptual multistability is accepted and a transfer of methods and models seems possible. In the case of structural ambiguities an underlying chaotic process is postulated. As a general consequence a description of meaning in terms of scales and spaces is called for.


Mental Rotation Catastrophe Theory Embed Clause Lexical Ambiguity Linguistic Meaning 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Wildgen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BremenGermany

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