Thora Tenbrink

Thora Tenbrink
Bangor University · School of Arts Culture and Language

Dr.phil.

About

117
Publications
23,682
Reads
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1,730
Citations
Introduction
My main interest is understanding how we think. I approach this through the analysis of language, using Cognitive Discourse Analysis. Since we think about so many different things, my research spans quite a range of exciting topic areas: wayfinding (see https://theconversation.com/we-need-to-make-digital-navigation-tools-more-human-heres-how-52021), origami paper folding, virtual space, collapsed buildings, sailing, furniture assembly, eyewitness accuracy, and many more.
Additional affiliations
September 2012 - July 2020
Bangor University
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • Publications accessible at our Repository: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/cgi/search/simple?q=Tenbrink%2C+T.&_action_search=Search&_action_search=Search&_order=bytitle&basic_srchtype=ALL&_satisfyall=ALL

Publications

Publications (117)
Preprint
The aim of this study is to investigate Landmark and Trajector identities in motion expressions used in describing instrumental music. Much theoretical and experimental research has been undertaken with the framework of Conceptual Metaphor Theory. However, the way which the Source domains, MOTION and SPACE, are perceived has been relatively under-a...
Article
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What is the relationship between language and animal communication? This has largely been discussed within research on language evolution and disciplines beyond linguistics, but impacts upon the study of language generally. There are two extant views on the nature of this relationship: either there is a stark divide, with language considered as com...
Chapter
How do we talk about movements and spatial relations in the context of sailing? On the one hand, there are many parallels to everyday life: sailors move towards a goal, they try to avoid collision, they orient themselves in relation to landmarks. On the other hand, a number of factors are fundamentally different. This chapter explores various ways...
Article
Spatial reference systems have been investigated across many different languages and cultures, partly with the explicit aim of identifying preferred ways of thinking and talking about space in a particular culture. This paper addresses variability within a given language (and culture) by looking at diversity across everyday specialist domains. Wher...
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This study explores the influence of a government’s ideology on linguistic representation in a news agency that characterizes itself as independent. It focuses on the coverage of the Syrian civil war as reported by the Iranian news agency Fars, addressing the discursive constructions of anti-government powers in relevant online reports released bet...
Conference Paper
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Visual as-the-crow-flies (ATCF) navigation methods are an increasingly popular alternative to existing turn-by-turn (TBT) navigation for cyclists. To better understand how people use them in everyday navigation and how they cope with the novel navigation method in challenging situations, we studied two main issues posed by ATCF navigation: knowing...
Article
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Language is one of the most prominent means of representing human thought. Spatial cognition research has made use of this fact for decades, exploring how humans perceive and understand their spatial environments through language analysis. So far, this research has mainly focused on generic cognitive aspects underlying everyday purposes such as kno...
Article
Purpose This study investigates the features of pragmatic and conversational skills in the language of Arabic-speaking adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by comparing them with typically developing (TD) Arabic-speaking adolescents in Saudi Arabia. It aims to identify the differences in the pragmatic skills of the two groups and the per...
Book
Cambridge Core - Discourse Analysis - Cognitive Discourse Analysis - by Thora Tenbrink
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Finding one’s way to a destination is a common, everyday task that often relies on spatial information provided by humans and/or automatic devices. However, the information can be inaccurate. How we decide which route to take will depend on our thoughts about the available route information, including who or what provided it, and how these sources...
Article
The languages of the world differ in their use of intrinsic, relative, and absolute reference frames to describe spatial relationships, but factors guiding reference frame choices are not yet well understood. This paper addresses the role of animacy and linguistic construction in reference frame choices in English and Spanish. During each trial of...
Conference Paper
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Complex buildings frequently present a challenge to users' understanding, which may affect way-14 finding as well as appreciation of the building's structure. In this paper we focus on the building's diagram, a representation by the building's architect that captures its main 'idea'. Motivated by the intuition that a building may be easier to under...
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To what extent is the choice of what to say driven by seemingly irrelevant cues in the visual world being described? Among such cues, how does prior description affect how we process spatial scenes? When people describe where objects are located their use of spatial language is often associated with a choice of reference frame. Two experiments empl...
Data
Appendix S1: Experimenter's script: Introduction to the study Appendix S2: PANNS test script Appendix S3: K‐alpha results Appendix S4: GLM analyses (with GLMM comparison).
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Fictive motion in language (as in, “The ridge went north”) is claimed to reflect the attention focus of the observer on the extension and spatial layout of an entity. This paper investigates fictive motion in alpine narratives, which describe the experience of moving in a very specifically structured space. We examine space properties that are high...
Chapter
How do people refer to places in their environment, and to what extent do the underlying spatial concepts correspond to officially defined regions? We exemplify some types of evidence that may help to determine local vernacular place concepts. The output of latent semantic analysis (LSA) on a web-scraped text corpus was compared with mapping and li...
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How do humans perceive and think about space, and how can this be represented adequately? For everyday activities such as locating objects or places, route planning, and the like, many insights have been gained over the past few decades, feeding into theories of spatial cognition and frameworks for spatial information science. In this paper, we exp...
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Sculptors, architects, and painters are three professional groups that require a comprehensive understanding of how to manipulate spatial structures. While it has been speculated that they may differ in the way they conceive of space due to the different professional demands, this has not been empirically tested. To achieve this, we asked architect...
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Interacting with a smart environment involves agreeing on what to do when, based on a joint understanding of where things and people are or where they should be. Face-to-face interaction between humans, or between humans and robots, implies clearly identifiable perspectives on the environment that can be used to establish such a joint understanding...
Article
When speakers coordinate with one another, they have available a range of alternatives for conceptualizing and describing spatial relationships. To understand the features of successful communication in collaborative spatial tasks, it is important to identify factors that shape speakers’ linguistic choices and evaluate them in relation to task succ...
Article
This paper addresses the impact of dialogue strategies and functional features of spatial arrangements on communicative success. To examine the sharing of cognition between two minds in order to achieve a joint goal, we collected a corpus of 24 extended German-language dialogues in a referential communication task that involved furnishing a dolls’...
Article
When searching for people in collapsed buildings, Urban Search and Rescue workers need to comprehend a complex cluttered scene observed through an endoscope under time pressure. This paper addresses the effects of time pressure and spatial ability on the comprehension of a film showing a mock-up collapsed room that was explored using endoscope-like...
Article
Cognitive scientists increasingly use virtual reality scenarios to address spatial perception, orientation, and navigation. If based on desktops rather than mobile immersive environments, this involves a discrepancy between the physically experienced static position and the visually perceived dynamic scene, leading to cognitive challenges that user...
Conference Paper
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Route directions research has mostly focused on urban space so far, highlighting human concepts of street networks based on a range of recurring elements such as route segments, decision points, landmarks and actions. We explored the way route directions reflect the features of space and activity in the context of mountaineering. Alpine route direc...
Article
Researchers have demonstrated qualitative differences in witness verbal reports made in the presence and absence of misinformation. The present study examined changes in linguistic markers present in verbal reports in the context of a repeated-retrieval misinformation study. After witnessing an event, an immediate retrieval group engaged in a free-...
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Research on problem solving typically does not address tasks that involve following detailed and/or illustrated step-by-step instructions. Such tasks are not seen as cognitively challenging problems to be solved. In this paper, we challenge this assumption by analyzing verbal protocols collected during an Origami folding task. Participants verbalis...
Article
Previous research on route directions largely considers the case when a knowledgeable route-giver conveys accurate information. In the real world, however, route information is sometimes inaccurate, and directions can lead navigators astray. We explored how participants respond to route directions containing ambiguities between landmarks and turn d...
Conference Paper
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Projective terms such as left, right, front, back are conceptually interesting due to their flexibility of contextual usage and their central relevance to human spatial cognition. Their default acceptability areas are well known, with prototypical axes representing their most central usage and decreasing acceptability away from the axes. Previous r...
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This paper offers the first general introduction to CODA (Cognitive Discourse Analysis), a methodology for analyzing verbal protocols and other types of unconstrained language use, as a resource for researchers interested in mental representations and high-level cognitive processes. CODA can be used to investigate verbalizations of perceived scenes...
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Situated dialogue corpora are invaluable resources for understanding the complex relationships among language, perception, and action. Accomplishing shared goals in the real world can often only be achieved via dynamic negotiation processes based on the interactants' common ground. In this paper, we investigate ways of systematically capturing stru...
Article
In this article, an integrated model is derived that jointly identifies and aligns bilingual named entities NEs between Chinese and English. The model is motivated by the following observations: 1 whether an NE is translated semantically or phonetically ...
Article
Origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, involves spatial thinking to both interpret and carry out its instructions. As such, it has the potential to provide spatial training (Taylor and Hutton under review). The present work uses cognitive discourse analysis to reveal the spatial thinking involved in origami and to suggest how it may be...
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The tutorial "Understanding spatial thought through language use" took place at the International Spatial Cognition Conference on August 31, 2012 at Kloster Seeon in Germany. This report outlines the main rationale for the tutorial along with central contributions by its participants, who considerably enhanced the success of the tutorial by sharing...
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In this paper, we analyze a corpus of route directions given while viewing simple maps, focusing on the conceptualization of direction changes at decision points. We address the variability of conceptualizations underlying turning actions at decision points as well as the level of detail given to specify actions, and we propose a systematic approac...
Conference Paper
Human spatial relational reasoning has been investigated by presenting participants with premises like: "The triangle is to the left of the circle, the circle is to the left of the square. Which relation holds between the triangle and the square?" Participants are expected to interpret the descriptions in a way that corresponds to the logical optio...
Conference Paper
Humans are incapable of reproducing exact "copies" of reality when conceptualizing and communicating about space. Instead, those aspects of a spatial environment are represented that are relevant for a particular purpose. This paper addresses how cognition and communication of space are affected by relevance. It starts out with a review of a broad...
Article
Mobile games become more and more embedded in our everyday lives. In this industry, particular types of spatial information are often given predominantly by visual means, while verbal and other sensorial feedback (vibration) are used for additional or different information. Since this may provide an obstacle for some users in some contexts, explori...
Conference Paper
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We provide a systematic model of spatial reference frames. The model captures concepts underlying natural language expressions in English that represent both external and internal as well as static and dynamic relationships between entities. Our implementation in the functional language Haskell generates valid English sentences from situations and...
Article
This paper disentangles cognitive and communicative factors influencing planning strategies in the everyday task of choosing a route to a familiar location. Describing the way for a stranger in town calls for fundamentally different cognitive processes and strategies than actually walking to a destination. In a series of experiments, this paper add...
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How people describe complex arrangements of objects in a small-scale setting has not been sufficiently investigated to predict when discourse strategies shift versus remain stable. In a study involving 100 native German participants, we investigated speakers' choices of perspective, as well as location and orientation information, when describing a...
Article
To what extent do conceptual schemas underlying temporal language correspond to those of spatial language? This paper addresses this question by providing an overview of reference frames for space as well as time, building on and systematically extending earlier accounts. A consistent framework using simple spatial models is proposed, which integra...
Conference Paper
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This paper addresses the role of activity on the construction of route directions. Primary to our conceptualization is that the activity at hand constrains the relevance of spatial information for task performance, as well as the level of granularity at which information is needed. In this paper, we highlight the role of activity for relevance and...
Article
Full-text available
This paper addresses the role of activity on the construction of route directions. Primary to our conceptualization is that the activity at hand constrains the relevance of spatial information for task performance, as well as the level of granularity at which information is needed. In this paper, we highlight the role of activity for relevance and...
Article
When conveying information about spatial situations and goals, speakers adapt flexibly to their addressee in order to reach the communicative goal efficiently and effortlessly. Our aim is to equip a dialogue system with the abilities required for such a natural, adaptive dialogue. In this paper we investigate the strategies people use to convey rou...
Article
The Transregional Collaborative Research Center SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition pursues interdisciplinary research on a broad range of topics related to the representation and processing mechanisms for intelligent spatial behavior in technical and in natural systems. This contribution gives an overview of the field of research worked on in the SFB/TR 8...
Article
We present an exploratory study of an everyday navigation planning situation, addressing spatial planning strategies as well as cognitive shifts between the visually available map and the conceptualized real-world environment. Participants were asked to plan a diversified holiday route on an island, with the help of a map representing spatial as we...
Article
We present a detailed semantics for linguistic spatial expressions supportive of computational processing that draws substantially on the principles and tools of ontological engineering and formal ontology. We cover language concerned with space, actions in space and spatial relationships and develop an ontological organization that relates such ex...
Conference Paper
Navigational choices in novel environments are constrained by the wayfinders’ expectations on the paths’ development beyond the current line of sight. Such expectations may be informed by hallway structures as well as by objects indicating where a hallway may lead to. We study these effects by systematically varying both of these factors in a virtu...
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In the present study, we examined how context of instruction and information in the visual array to be described affect spatial information packaging across a range of levels of spatial description. Participants described complex scenes containing 3-D dollhouse furniture across two different arrays (functional vs. nonfunctional arrangements of obje...
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The Collaborative Interdisciplinary Specialized Workshop on Spatial Behavior and Linguistic Representation took place on April 23-24, 2010, at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Institute for Advanced Study (HWK), in Delmenhorst, Germany. We report the scientific motivation for this workshop and report its outcomes together with the impact of a gatheri...
Conference Paper
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In this paper we revisit the topic of dialogue grammars at the illocutionary force level and present a new approach to the formal modelling, evaluation and comparison of these models based on recursive transition networks. Through the use of appropriate tools such finite-state grammars can be formally analysed and validated against empirically coll...
Conference Paper
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In this paper we examine the influence of dimensionality on natural language route directions in dialogue. Specifically, we show that giving route instructions in a quasi-3d environment leads to experiential descriptive accounts, as manifested by a higher proportion of location descriptions, lack of chunking, use of 1st person singular personal pro...
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The present paper combines two lines of research from discourse analysis and psychology by investigating thinking-aloud data and retrospective reports related to a cognitively demanding task, namely, a variant of the well-known Traveling Salesman Problem involving navigation to a set of goals. The analysis addresses the linguistic variability emerg...
Article
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Our aim is to enable uninformed users to instruct the Bremen autonomous wheelchair Rolland to move towards specific goals via route directions. Empirical data are used to augment the robot's internal representation as well as to identify a number of conceptual problem areas involved in the spatial communication between a human and a robot. The prob...
Article
This book considers how people talk about the location of objects and places. Spatial language has occupied many researchers across diverse fields, such as linguistics, psychology, GIScience, architecture, and neuroscience. However, the vast majority of work in this area has examined spatial language in monologue situations, and often in highly art...
Chapter
This chapter addresses English and German speakers' strategies in a scenario-enhancing reference via spatial contrast, focusing on speakers' linguistic preferences with respect to syntactic forms and modifications. Results confirm shared communicative principles and point to systematic differences which can in part be explained by differences in la...
Chapter
This chapter introduces the main topic of the book, which evaluates how people talk about the location of objects and places through dialogue. It defines spatial language and it's relation to dialogue as studied in this book. It explains the importance of dialogue to the study. © 2009 editorial matter and organization Kenny R. Coventry, Thora Tenbr...
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This paper addresses changes of spatial granularity in route directions in re-lation to information needs in multi-modal traveling. We outline a model of variability in granularity and apply this model to empirical data. Results re-veal that human as well as computer generated route directions provide one-dimensional route elements in hierarchicall...
Book
Does temporal language depend on spatial language? This widespread view is intuitively appealing since spatial and temporal expressions are often similar or identical. Also, metaphors consistently express temporal phenomena in terms of spatial language, pointing to a close semantic and conceptual relationship. But what about the application of the...
Article
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What kinds of strategies do humans employ when confronted with a complex spatial task, and how do they verbalize these strategies? Previous research concerned with the well-known traveling salesperson problem (TSP) typically aimed at the identification of a generally applicable heuristics that adequately represents human behavior in relation to the...
Chapter
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In our targeted scenario, humans can flexibly establish joint object reference with a robot entirely on the basis of their own intuitions. To reach this aim, the robot needs to be equipped with the kind of knowledge that can be matched in a cognitively adequate way to users’ intuitive conceptual and linguistic preferences. Such an endeavour require...
Article
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In the field of human cognition, performance and optimization behavior in the TSP has mainly been investigated by means of visual versions in which humans are confronted with a number of dots on a computer monitor. Their task is to connect these dots by a straight line such that the resulting path is optimal with respect to overall length. Path pla...
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Previous research on spatial projective terms such as to the left (of) and in front (of) typically focuses on static (locative) usages. We address the usage of such expressions in dynamic contexts (i.e., as directionals). As part of our general aim of developing a speech interface for allowing intuitive control of a mobile robot in navigation tasks...
Article
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We present our iterative approach to ena-bling natural dialogic interaction between human users and a wheelchair, based on the alternation of empirical studies and dia-logue modelling. Our approach incorpo-rates empirically identified conceptual problem areas and a dialogue model de-signed to manage the available information and to ask clarificatio...
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In this paper we argue that a clear division between two sources of information— one oriented to world knowledge, the other to linguistic semantics—offers a framework within which mechanisms for modelling the highly flexible relation between language and interpretation necessary for natural discourse can be specified and empirically validated. More...
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1 The investigation of linguistic expressions of space and time typically presupposes an interdependency between these two related conceptual domains, resulting in a quasi-metaphorical relationship in which time is secondary to space. I have approached this general idea from a range of perspectives, focusing on the question whether the interrelatio...
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We present the results of a German Wizard-of-Oz (sim-ulated dialogue) study involving referential communication with a (simulated) robot. Users were asked to refer to an object in a com-plex configuration involving various perspectives on a number of ob-jects together with the robot's position and a chair that could serve as basis for intrinsic ref...
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The semantics of before and after have long been in the centre of researcher's curiosity because of their relation to the conceptualization of time. Temporal clauses involving these connectives serve to give a time reference for the main clause, i.e., the event described in the main clause is anchored in time in relation to the event described in t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present an interdisciplinary approach to the investigation of strategies and heuristics reflecting the cognitive processes underlying human wayfinding. To achieve this, we symmetrically investigate navigation behavior and associated language. This novel approach combines two completely different and independent directions of research that comple...