Skip to toolbar

Revisiting the role of language in spatial cognition: Categorical perception of spatial relations in English and Korean speakers

Revisiting the role of language in spatial cognition: Categorical perception of spatial relations in English and Korean speakers

Published in: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Volume 24, Issue 6, December 2017, 2031-2036

Abstract
“The spatial relation of support has been regarded as universally privileged in nonlinguistic cognition and immune to the influence of language. English, but not Korean, obligatorily distinguishes support from nonsupport via basic spatial terms. Despite this linguistic difference, previous research suggests that English and Korean speakers show comparable nonlinguistic sensitivity to the support/nonsupport distinction. Here, using a paradigm previously found to elicit cross-language differences in color discrimination, we provide evidence for a difference in sensitivity to support/nonsupport between native English speakers and native Korean speakers who were late English learners and tested in a context that privileged Korean. Whereas the former group showed categorical perception (CP) when discriminating spatial scenes capturing the support/nonsupport distinction, the latter did not. An additional group of native Korean speakers—relatively early English learners tested in an English-salient context—patterned with the native English speakers in showing CP for support/nonsupport. These findings suggest that obligatory marking of support/nonsupport in one’s native language can affect nonlinguistic sensitivity to this distinction, contra earlier findings, but that such sensitivity may also depend on aspects of language background and the immediate linguistic context.”

Written by: Kevin J. Holmes, Kelsey Moty, Terry Regier
For full text: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-017-1268-x

Leave a Reply

2 × four =