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ERIC Number: EJ1141626
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-May
Pages: 44
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Transitivity, Space, and Hand: The Spatial Grounding of Syntax
Boiteau, Timothy W.; Almor, Amit
Cognitive Science, v41 n4 p848-891 May 2017
Previous research has linked the concept of number and other ordinal series to space via a spatially oriented mental number line. In addition, it has been shown that in visual scene recognition and production, speakers of a language with a left-to-right orthography respond faster to and tend to draw images in which the agent of an action is located to the left of the patient. In this study, we aim to bridge these two lines of research by employing a novel method that measures the spatial bias produced by transitive sentences that use a wide variety of abstract and concrete verbs. Across four experiments, participants read sentences and then responded to probe words appearing on either the left or right sides of the screen. Probe words consisted of agents, patients, other words in the sentence, or newly encountered words. We found consistent lateral biases to responding to agents and patients, which appears to be independent of order of mention in the sentence but which does reflect a correspondence between position in the sentence and role in the causal sequence of the action. Our results also show that this spatial bias is driven by the use of the hands in two different ways: The left hand shows a greater sensitivity to the spatial effect than the right hand, and vocal responses produce no spatial effect.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: R21AG030445; BCS0822617