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ERIC Number: EJ781841
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Pages: 15
Abstractor: Author
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Time in the Mind: Using Space to Think about Time
Casasanto, Daniel; Boroditsky, Lera
Cognition, v106 n2 p579-593 Feb 2008
How do we construct abstract ideas like justice, mathematics, or time-travel? In this paper we investigate whether mental representations that result from physical experience underlie people's more abstract mental representations, using the domains of space and time as a testbed. People often talk about time using spatial language (e.g., a "long" vacation, a "short" concert). Do people also "think" about time using spatial representations, even when they are not using language? Results of six psychophysical experiments revealed that people are unable to ignore irrelevant spatial information when making judgments about duration, but not the converse. This pattern, which is predicted by the asymmetry between space and time in linguistic metaphors, was demonstrated here in tasks that do not involve any linguistic stimuli or responses. These findings provide evidence that the metaphorical relationship between space and time observed in language also exists in our more basic representations of distance and duration. Results suggest that our mental representations of things we can never see or touch may be built, in part, out of representations of physical experiences in perception and motor action.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A