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Cogn Sci. 2005 Jul 8;29(4):655-64. doi: 10.1207/s15516709cog0000_17.

On the experiential link between spatial and temporal language.

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Department of Psychology, Stanford University.


How do we understand time and other entities we can neither touch nor see? One possibility is that we tap into our concrete, experiential knowledge, including our understanding of physical space and motion, to make sense of abstract domains such as time. To examine how pervasive an aspect of cognition this is, we investigated whether thought about a nonliteral type of motion called fictive motion (FM; as in The road runs along the coast) can influence thought about time. Our results suggest that FM uses the same structures evoked in understanding literal motion, and that these literal aspects of FM influence temporal reasoning.

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