Above, on, or shang (上)? Language and spatial representations among English–Mandarin bilinguals

Toh, Wei Xing, and Suárez, Lidia (2017) Above, on, or shang (上)? Language and spatial representations among English–Mandarin bilinguals. Perception & Psychophysics, 79 (8). pp. 2235-245.

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This study investigated if exposure to spatial language could affect spatial cognition in English-Mandarin bilinguals by focusing on contact/noncontact distinctions, an area that has been a source of contention in the language-and-thought literature. Sixty-three participants were first primed with sentences containing spatial terms (e.g., above, on) before performing a spatial decision task. Approximately half of the participants (n = 33) were primed in English; for the remaining participants (n = 30), primes comprising Mandarin spatial terms―which mark spatial distinctions differently than in English (e.g.,shang in Mandarin signifies both above and on in English)―were employed instead. Our findings revealed that participants' performance was influenced by spatial primes in the English experiment, thereby proffering evidence for thinking-for-speaking effects. However, these findings were not mirrored for the Mandarin experiment, confirming that the contact/noncontact specificity of spatial terms may have been instrumental in engendering the thinking-for-speaking effects observed in English.

Item ID: 51283
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1943-393X
Keywords: spatial cognition; spatial language; thinking for speaking
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Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2017 01:52
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5204 Cognitive and computational psychology > 520405 Psycholinguistics (incl. speech production and comprehension) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 100%
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