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ERIC Number: EJ902058
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Left-Right Coding of Past and Future in Language: The Mental Timeline during Sentence Processing
Ulrich, Rolf; Maienborn, Claudia
Cognition, v117 n2 p126-138 Nov 2010
The metaphoric mapping theory suggests that abstract concepts, like time, are represented in terms of concrete dimensions such as space. This theory receives support from several lines of research ranging from psychophysics to linguistics and cultural studies; especially strong support comes from recent response time studies. These studies have reported congruency effects between the dimensions of time and space indicating that time evokes spatial representations that may facilitate or impede responses to words with a temporal connotation. The present paper reports the results of three linguistic experiments that examined this congruency effect when participants processed past- and future-related sentences. Response time was shorter when past-related sentences required a left-hand response and future-related sentences a right-hand response than when this mapping of time onto response hand was reversed (Experiment 1). This result suggests that participants can form time-space associations during the processing of sentences and thus this result is consistent with the view that time is mentally represented from left to right. The activation of these time-space associations, however, appears to be non-automatic as shown by the results of Experiments 2 and 3 when participants were asked to perform a non-temporal meaning discrimination task. (Contains 4 tables and 3 figures.)
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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