The Influence of Visual Salience on the Processing of Plurals

Plurals have been known to be indeterminant in how it can also represent one to infinity. This is shown through the statement; your children are invited to the party. An individual may have one child but recognizes that the statement encompasses that child, and so would theoretically accept that invitation (Patson, 2014). To gain more insight into the processing of plurals, we’ve observed whether visual salience within an image would influence an individual’s inclination to use a plural vs. singular noun. Visual salience was influenced through how noticeable an individual would appear through position, shape, or size. Participants observed two kinds of sentences, differing in use of plural or singular nouns. These sentences also had images, representing either our group of singular, plural, or visually salient images. Through this combination of images and sentences, we analyzed whether our visually salient images resulted in participants leaning towards referring to that specific individual within the picture, therefore using a singular noun, rather than a plural to represent the group they are a part of. This study concluded in obtaining results which suggest that visual salience does in fact play a role in how we interpret and visualize groupings of individuals.