Axes and Direction in Spatial Language and Spatial Cognition


in Representing Direction in Language and Space

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780199260195
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191717345 | DOI:

Series: Explorations in Language and Space

 Axes and Direction in Spatial Language and Spatial Cognition

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This chapter argues that axial representations are engaged in both linguistic and non-linguistic tasks. Axial structure is required to account for performance in object location memory tasks, matching tasks, and spatial language tasks. Axial structure representations are independent of direction representation, as revealed by studies of normal adults and children, and spatially impaired adults and children. More specifically, evidence from spatial impairment suggests that direction may be a more fragile component of spatial representation than axial structure. The chapter concludes by arguing that in relation to spatial language, axial representations are more suitable for representing direction than vector-based representations.

Keywords: spatial language; spatial cognition; axial representations; direction; linguistic tasks; non-linguistic tasks; spatial impairment; axis; space

Chapter.  8477 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psycholinguistics

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