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Abstract

Everyday concepts of duration, of sequence, and of past, present, and future are fundamental to how humans make sense of experience. In culture after culture, converging evidence from language, co-speech gesture, and behavioral tasks suggests that humans handle these elusive yet indispensable notions by construing them spatially. Where do these spatial construals come from and why do they take the particular, sometimes peculiar, spatial forms that they do? As researchers across the cognitive sciences pursue these questions on different levels - cultural, developmental - in diverse populations and with new methodologies, clear answers will depend upon a shared and nuanced set of theoretical distinctions. Time is not a monolith, but rather a mosaic of construals with distinct properties and origins.

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... All languages have a more or less rich stock of linguistic resources for talking about different aspects of time and temporal experience. Here we consider these resources in Yupno, with particular focus on those devoted to expressing concepts of duration, sequence time, and deictic timethe three major classes of temporal concepts that are construed spatially around the world (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). Our work to date has zoomed in on the Yupno construal of deictic timepast, present, and futureso we will treat this class of concepts in the most depth, particularly when analyzing gestural examples. ...
... Why wouldn't tomorrow be 'down below' rather than 'up above'? In the case of every other temporal construal described to date, there is a widely accepted explanation for its experiential motivation (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). Yet in the case of the future-uphill construal found in the Yupno valley and elsewhere, no obvious explanation presents itself. ...
... Indeed, growth furnishes a natural conceptual source for thinking about sequence time but not a good one for thinking about deictic time. This is because it does not inherently involve an ego that is internal to the space itself, just an observer looking at a process from the outside (see Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). 5 Explanation 3: looking downhill versus uphill. ...
Article
Much prior research has investigated how humans understand time using body-based contrasts like front / back and left / right. It has recently come to light, however, that some communities instead understand time using environment -based contrasts. Here, we present the richest portrait yet of one such case: the topographic system used by the Yupno of Papua New Guinea, in which the past is construed as downhill and the future as uphill. We first survey topographic concepts in Yupno language and culture, showing how they constitute a privileged resource for communicating about space. Next, we survey time concepts in Yupno, focusing on how topographic concepts are used to construe past, present, and future. We then illustrate how this topographic understanding of time comes to life in the words, hands, and minds of Yupno speakers. Drawing on informal interviews, we offer a view of the topographic system that goes beyond a community-level summary, and offers a glimpse of its individual-level and moment-to-moment texture. Finally, we step back to account for how this topographic understanding of time is embedded within a rich cognitive ecology of linguistic, cultural, gestural, and architectural practices. We close by discussing an elusive question: Why is the future uphill?
... Most studies have adopted tasks in which temporal-related dimensions were classified by using response keys placed at the two ends of a spatial reference system, such as the horizontal plane (i.e., a left-side vs. right-side response key). On the one hand, these temporal judgement tasks can be based on the discrimination of the actual passage of time, requiring a quantitative estimation of the length of the temporal duration of a stimulus, a time concept which is also known as temporal span (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). For instance, Vallesi et al. (2008) asked Western participants to classify the time duration of a central visual stimulus (a yellow cross) as either short (e.g., lasting 1 s) or long (e.g., lasting 3 s) using left and right keys. ...
... Short and long durations were responded to more quickly with the left-side and the right-side keys, respectively, than with the opposite mapping (i.e., short-right/long-left; see also Vallesi et al., , 2014. On the other hand, temporal judgement tasks can require processing the temporal information associated with symbolic stimuli describing either past versus future events or earlier versus later relationships (time concepts which are also known as deictic time and sequence time, respectively; Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). For instance, Weger and Pratt (2008) asked Western participants to categorize a name as belonging to an actor who was popular either before or after they were born (e.g., Charlie Chaplin vs. Kate Winslet). ...
... It is important to note that the aforementioned studies describing a vertical representation of time among Mandarin speakers required participants to retrieve the temporal information associated with a given symbolic stimulus, such as a word or a picture (deictic and sequence time; see Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013), and therefore both linguistic and semantic components of the stimuli were highly involved in the task. This feature may have contributed to the linguistic and cultural differences that emerged in those studies. ...
Article
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According to the spatial–temporal association of response codes (STEARC) effect, time can be spatially represented from left to right. However, exploration of a possible STEARC effect along the vertical axis has yielded mixed results. Here, in six experiments based on a novel paradigm, we systematically explored whether a STEARC effect could emerge when participants were asked to classify the actual temporal duration of a visual stimulus. Speeded manual responses were provided using a vertically oriented response box. Interestingly, although a top-to-bottom time representation emerged when only two temporal durations were employed, an inverted bottom-to-top time representation emerged when a denser set of temporal durations, arranged along a continuum, was used. Moreover, no STEARC effects emerged when participants classified the shapes of visual stimuli rather than their temporal duration. Finally, three additional experiments explored the STEARC effect along the horizontal axis, confirming that the paradigm we devised successfully replicated the standard left-to-right representation of time. These results provide supporting evidence for the notion that temporal durations can be mapped along the vertical axis, and that such mapping appears to be relatively flexible.
... Such time-space link becomes particularly interesting within the embodied cognition framework (Glenberg, 1997;Wilson, 2002;Barsalou, 2008;Versace et al., 2014), which considers the abstract concept of time as embedded in a perception-action system and integrated with spatial information (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980;Núñez and Cooperrider, 2013). In daily life, we tend to prescribe temporal concepts to spatial locations through a past-behind and future-ahead mapping (e.g., we move back to the past, and look forward to the future; Boroditsky, 2000). ...
... Such temporal predictability of isochronous sequences has been shown to consistently improve sensorimotor processing of events occurring in phase with the rhythm, thus enhancing not only perceptual sensitivity (Morillon et al., 2014) and target detection speed (Bolger et al., 2014), but also working- (Fanuel et al., , 2020Plancher et al., 2018) and long-term memory (Thavabalasingam et al., 2016) processes. Here, we considered the tight time-space relationship, according to which temporal concepts are usually prescribed to spatial locations through a past-behind and future-ahead mapping (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980;Núñez and Cooperrider, 2013). As humans, we tend to conceptualize time along the sagittal space (Bender and Beller, 2014), thus representing the past as "back" and the future as "forward" (Núñez and Cooperrider, 2013). ...
... Here, we considered the tight time-space relationship, according to which temporal concepts are usually prescribed to spatial locations through a past-behind and future-ahead mapping (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980;Núñez and Cooperrider, 2013). As humans, we tend to conceptualize time along the sagittal space (Bender and Beller, 2014), thus representing the past as "back" and the future as "forward" (Núñez and Cooperrider, 2013). Accordingly, many studies have shown that motor responses to past-and futurerelated information are significantly faster when the response direction is compatible with such sagittal mental time line (Sell and Kaschak, 2011;Rinaldi et al., 2016Rinaldi et al., , 2018Walker et al., 2017). ...
Article
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A regular rhythmic stimulation increases people’s ability to anticipate future events in time and to move their body in space. Temporal concepts are usually prescribed to spatial locations through a past-behind and future-ahead mapping. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that a regular rhythmic stimulation could promote the forward-body (i.e., toward the future) projections in the peri-personal space. In a Visual Approach/Avoidance by the Self Task (VAAST), participants (N = 24) observed a visual scene on the screen (i.e., a music studio with a metronome in the middle). They were exposed to 3 s of auditory isochronous or non-isochronous rhythms, after which they were asked to make as quickly as possible a perceptual judgment on the visual scene (i.e., whether the metronome pendulum was pointing to the right or left). The responses could trigger a forward or backward visual flow, i.e., approaching or moving them away from the scene. Results showed a significant interaction between the rhythmic stimulation and the movement projections (p < 0.001): participants were faster for responses triggering forward-body projections (but not backward-body projections) after the exposure to isochronous (but not non-isochronous) rhythm. By highlighting the strong link between isochronous rhythms and forward-body projections, these findings support the idea that temporal predictions driven by a regular auditory stimulation are grounded in a perception-action system integrating temporal and spatial information.
... The conceptualisation of TIME has received a lot of attention in cognitive linguistics, and cognitive science in general, as a test case for a broader inquiry of how people think and talk about an abstract domain in terms of another embodied domain (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). Previous works have shown that a wide range of languages and cultures construe TIME using concepts and vocabularies from the domains of SPACE and MOTION (Whorf, 1956;Clark, 1973;Traugott, 1978;Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, pp. ...
... Previous works have shown that a wide range of languages and cultures construe TIME using concepts and vocabularies from the domains of SPACE and MOTION (Whorf, 1956;Clark, 1973;Traugott, 1978;Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, pp. 41-45, 1999 for recent overviews, see Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013;. For example, in English, we could say that (i) we have a long vacation ahead of us, (ii) "John left behind schedule" (Clark, 1973, p. 50), or (iii) "the second quarter of 2021 rushed by us" 1 . ...
... With these questions, we aim to add further data from Indonesian to the existing literature on temporal gestures in different languages and contribute to the central area of universality and variation in the metaphorical conceptualisation of TIME. We will cast the discussion of the data in terms of the typology of the temporal frame of reference for the SPACE-TIME mapping (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013;) (see The Typology of SPACE-TIME Mapping sub-section). ...
Article
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This paper presents evidence from language and gesture for the spatial conceptualisation of time in Indonesian. Linguistic evidence corroborates the dominant patterns of space-time mapping for deictic (i.e., future, present/now, and past) and sequential times (i.e., before-after). Indonesian speakers talk about the future as an event in front of the Ego, while the past is behind the Ego. The spontaneous gestural data reflect and extend the patterns observed in other languages. Forward and backward (i.e., sagittal) gestures tend to accompany future and past expressions respectively. Deictic times can also be construed through the leftward and rightward (i.e., lateral) gestures and the combination of the sagittal and lateral axes, which lack a linguistic analogue. The sequential-time gesture is more likely to be lateral. Our study contributes to (i) the exploration of universality and variation in the construal of time in language and gesture, and (ii) the growing interest within Cognitive Linguistics in converging and/or diverging evidence from different methods and data types.
... As evidenced by language, gesture, and cultural artifacts, people from cultures around the world use space to represent time. Spatial language is frequently used metaphorically to talk about time (e.g., many languages describe the future as being in front and the past behind; Clark, 1973;Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), co-speech gestures add a spatial component to temporal language (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013;Núñez & Sweetser, 2006), and external tools that project time onto space, like clocks and calendars, are common (e.g., Barnett, 1999;Gell, 1992;Whitrow, 1989). Associations between space and time also run deeper than external cultural tools or linguistic metaphors, as decades of work have suggested that representations of time and space are also linked in the mind (e.g., Boroditsky, 2000;Casasanto & Boroditsky, 2008;Casasanto, 2009b;Casasanto, Fotakopoulou, & Boroditsky, 2010;Gibbs, 1994;Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). ...
... Using space to represent time is thought to be cognitively beneficial by facilitating our ability to reason about temporal order and intervals (Boroditsky, 2000;Casasanto, 2008;Casasanto et al., 2010;Gentner, 2001). Notably, however, spatial representations of time can take varied forms across cultures, and within a culture it is common to use different dimensions of space (e.g., the left-right and front-back axes) to represent different types of temporal concepts (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). ...
... This spatiotemporal mapping employs the sagittal axis, the axis running between the front and back of the body. Unlike the horizontal/vertical mental timeline, the sagittal mental timeline involves an internal perspective with the observer in the center of the axis (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). Here, we use the term 'horizontal/vertical mental timeline' to refer to what most prior work has referred to as the 'mental timeline' and we use the term 'sagittal mental timeline' to refer to mapping time onto space in the sagittal axis. ...
Article
Across cultures, people frequently communicate about time in terms of space. English speakers in the United States, for example, might “look forward” to the future or gesture toward the left when talking about the past. As shown by these examples, different dimensions of space are used to represent different temporal concepts. Here, we explored how cultural factors and individual differences shape the development of two types of spatiotemporal representations in 6- to 15-year-old children: the horizontal/vertical mental timeline (in which past and future events are placed on a horizontal or vertical line that is external to the body) and the sagittal mental timeline (in which events are placed on a line that runs through the front-back axis of the body). We tested children in India because the prevalence of both horizontal and vertical calendars there provided a unique opportunity to investigate how calendar orientation and writing direction might each influence the development of the horizontal/vertical mental timeline. Our results suggest that the horizontal/vertical mental timeline and the sagittal mental timeline are constructed in parallel throughout childhood and become increasingly aligned with culturally-conventional orientations. Additionally, we show that experience with calendars may influence the orientation of children's horizontal/vertical mental timelines, and that individual differences in children's attitudes toward the past and future may influence the orientation of their sagittal mental timelines. Taken together, our results demonstrate that children are sensitive to both cultural and personal factors when building mental models of time.
... While we can physically explore the space in front of us, however, the future cannot be experienced directly. This is one of the reasons that spatial metaphors are typically used to talk about the future in most languages, and why temporal metaphors are less commonly used to discuss space A rare but well-known instance of the latter, for example, is the usual American response to the question "how far is it" in terms of the number of hours it would take to drive somewhere (Haspelmath 1997;Boroditsky 2000;Nunez and Cooperrider 2013). ...
... Many linguistic studies have indicated that spatial analogs have a profound influence on how we process ideas about time (Gentner 2001), but that the mapping from space to time is highly selective (Nunez and Cooperrider 2013). "Temporo-spatial dynamics" have been proposed as the missing link between the brain and mind (Northoff, Wainio-Theberge, and Evers 2020). ...
... There are also some fundamental differences between our concepts of space and time. Space, at least since the time of Descartes, has generally been considered to have three dimensions, while time is commonly treated as having only one, which is also one-directional (Nunez and Cooperrider 2013). Our bodily relationships to space and time also differ. ...
Article
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This article reports the results of a series of experiments examining the potential psychological link between spatial and temporal prospects, specifically between variations in the degree of foreground obstruction and spatial depth of external window views and an observer’s sense of connection to the future. It was found that external views from indoor spaces were strongly associated with a sense of the future, that partially obstructing such a view significantly reduced that association, and that replacing a real view with a pictorial representation removed most of its association with the future. A less extreme change in the spatial depth of a real view, however, appeared to have no significant effect on association with the future. These results suggest that the configuration of external views from inside buildings could directly affect feelings about the future, and in particular levels of optimism.
... As evidenced by language, gesture, and cultural artifacts, people from cultures around the world use space to represent time. Spatial language is frequently used metaphorically to talk about time (e.g., many languages describe the future as being in front and the past behind; Clark, 1973;Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), co-speech gestures add a spatial component to temporal language (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013;Núñez & Sweetser, 2006), and external tools that project time onto space, like clocks and calendars, are common (e.g., Barnett, 1999;Gell, 1992;Whitrow, 1989). Associations between space and time also run deeper than external cultural tools or linguistic metaphors, as decades of work have suggested that representations of time and space are also linked in the mind (e.g., Boroditsky, 2000;Casasanto & Boroditsky, 2008;Casasanto, 2009b;Casasanto, Fotakopoulou, & Boroditsky, 2010;Gibbs, 1994;Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). ...
... Using space to represent time is thought to be cognitively beneficial by facilitating our ability to reason about temporal order and intervals (Boroditsky, 2000;Casasanto, 2008;Casasanto et al., 2010;Gentner, 2001). Notably, however, spatial representations of time can take varied forms across cultures, and within a culture it is common to use different dimensions of space (e.g., the left-right and front-back axes) to represent different types of temporal concepts (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). ...
... This spatiotemporal mapping employs the sagittal axis, the axis running between the front and back of the body. Unlike the horizontal/vertical mental timeline, the sagittal mental timeline involves an internal perspective with the observer in the center of the axis (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). Here, we use the term 'horizontal/vertical mental timeline' to refer to what most prior work has referred to as the 'mental timeline' and we use the term 'sagittal mental timeline' to refer to mapping time onto space in the sagittal axis. ...
Preprint
Across cultures, people frequently communicate about time in terms of space. English speakers in the United States, for example, might “look forward” to the future or gesture toward the left when talking about the past. As shown by these examples, different dimensions of space are used to represent different temporal concepts. Here, we explored how cultural factors and individual differences shape the development of two types of spatiotemporal representations in 6- to 15-year-old children: the horizontal/vertical mental timeline (in which past and future events are placed on a horizontal or vertical line that is external to the body) and the sagittal mental timeline (in which events are placed on a line that runs through the front-back axis of the body). We tested children in India because the prevalence of both horizontal and vertical calendars there provided a unique opportunity to investigate how calendar orientation and writing direction might each influence the development of the horizontal/vertical mental timeline. Our results suggest that the horizontal/vertical mental timeline and the sagittal mental timeline are constructed in parallel throughout childhood and become increasingly aligned with culturally-conventional orientations. Additionally, we show that experience with calendars may influence the orientation of children’s horizontal/vertical mental timelines, and that individual differences in children’s attitudes toward the past and future may influence the orientation of their sagittal mental timelines. Taken together, our results demonstrate that children are sensitive to both cultural and personal factors when building mental models of time.
... But undoubtedly, the domain that has attracted the most attention is that of space (Pederson et al., 1998;Talmy, 2000a;Levinson, 2003;Levinson and Meira, 2003;Majid et al., 2004;Bohnemeyer et al., 2007). This interest is well justified, given the foundational nature of the domain of space, which acts as a cornerstone to many other domains, in a process known as metaphorical transfer (Clark, 1973;Lakoff and Johnson, 1980;Núñez and Cooperrider, 2013). ...
... This statement by Núñez and Cooperrider (2013) is probably one of the most agreed upon ideas in cognitive science. Extensive literature has focused on how time is expressed in English. ...
... In the end, as Bender and Beller (2014, p. 379) state, no definitive conclusion has been reached, since the different accounts conceptualize the T-FoR in relation to very different factors, such as which is the reference point, which is its orientation or how the deictic center may affect the referencing patterns. This paper, however, does not intend to put some order in this "tangle of space and time" [as Núñez and Cooperrider's (2013) expressively call it], but rather to investigate possible typological differences between English and Spanish in the expression of time. Thus, we will exclusively focus on the expression of three core temporal meanings in language: the expression of past and future with a deictic center (often called the "A-Series"), the expression of temporal sequence ("B-Series") and the expression of temporal duration. ...
Article
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This study investigates how typological and metaphorical construal differences may affect the use and frequency of temporal expressions in English and Spanish. More precisely, we explore whether there are any differences between English, a satellite-framed language, and Spanish, a verb-framed language, in the use of certain temporal linguistic expressions that include a spatial, deictic component (Deictic Time), a purely temporal relation between two events (Sequential Time) or the expression of the duration of an event (Duration). To achieve this, we perform two different types of studies. First, we conduct an informational gain or loss analysis of 1,650 of English-to-Spanish translations extracted from parallel corpora. Secondly, we compare the frequency of 33 English and 27 Spanish temporal expressions in two similar written online corpora (EnTenTen and EsTenTen, respectively) and a television news spoken corpus (NewsScape). Our results suggest that English uses "deictic expressions with directional language" (explicitly stating the spatial location of the temporal event, e.g., back in those days/in the future ahead) much more frequently than Spanish, to the extent that such directional information is often excluded in English-to-Spanish translations. Also, sequential expressions (such as before that/later than) and duration expressions (during the whole day) are much more frequent in Spanish. These usage differences, explained by the variability in motion typology and metaphoric construal, open up the interesting question of how these differences in linguistic usage could affect the conceptualization of time of English and Spanish speakers.
... The use of spatial language to express temporal concepts is documented in languages throughout the world (Haspelmath, 1997). The spatialization of time is also evident in co-speech gesture (Núñez & Sweetser, 2006;Casasanto & Jasmin, 2012;Cooperrider & Núñez, 2009;Cooperrider et al., 2014), in non-linguistic cognitive tasks (Casasanto & Boroditsky, 2008;Casasanto, 2010Casasanto, , 2016Fuhrman et al. 2011;Bender & Beller, 2014) and in symbolic cognitive artefacts (Sinha et al., 2011;Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013;Duffy, 2014). The ubiquity of such space-time mapping has led to claims for the universality of the conceptual metaphor TIME IS SPACE (Lakoff & Johnson, 1999;Fauconnier & Turner, 2008). ...
... Much attention has focused on writing systems, calendars, clocks and other symbolic time-reckoning artefacts and practices (e.g. Sinha et al., 2011;Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013;Duffy, 2014;Silva Sinha, 2019). The present study, and in particular Experiment 5, points to the relevance also of maps, and raises an intriguing puzzle about the mapping of cardinal points to temporal sequence that should be explored in future research. ...
Preprint
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This article addresses two previously unresolved puzzles regarding the relationship between temporal and spatial conceptualizations in Mandarin Chinese. First, apparently conflicting data have led to disagreement over whether temporal usages of the terms qian and hou, whose spatial meanings of ‘front’ and ‘back’ are often considered to be primary, are based on a canonical facing of Ego towards past or towards future. We argue that this issue can be resolved by positing invariant Sequential (S-)Time meanings of, respectively, EARLIER and LATER for these terms, with variable USES to refer to past and future events and perspectives in Deictic (D-)Time being secondary and contextually governed. Second, the question of which of the sagittal, vertical and lateral orientational axes are more fundamental in spatio-temporal language and cognition for Mandarin Chinese speakers has been much debated. We review these issues, propose solutions based on linguistic analysis and report five experiments to test the analysis. Our findings are consistent with our analysis of the primacy in Mandarin Chinese of the invariant S-time construal of the terms qian ‘front’ (=EARLIER) and hou ‘back’ (=LATER) over their contextually governed D-time interpretations as referring to pastness and futurity. We find also that the preferred lexicalization of temporal relations between events by Mandarin speakers involves the sagittal axis terms qian and hou, but this does not mean that this linguistic conceptualization is also imposed by speakers as a preference for the sagittal axis for non-linguistic representations of event sequences. Finally, our data indicate that the temporal meanings of qian and hou (EARLIER and LATER) are more salient for speakers than their spatial meanings (front and back) in motion event conceptualizations.
... Although the verbal working memory account seems to be limited in its capacity to explain the vertical representation of numbers (e.g., Aleotti et al., 2020), the SPoARC-like effect has been observed in vertical (bottom-to-top) representation of abstract concepts (Abrahamse et al., 2014;Zhou et al., 2019). Taking into account that the temporal concepts can be classified into deictic time (D-time), sequence time (S-time), and duration (T-span; Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013), the verbal working memory account could be adequate to explain horizontal and vertical time representations when temporal stimuli are defined as earlier/later (than an activity) or shorter/longer (than a fixed middle duration), with both implying an ordered sequence of events or time, while it does not predict horizontal and vertical space-time associations when past/future stimuli (which are not ordered in a fixed manner) are used. ...
... Finally, when we calculated the strength and the direction of the STEARC effect using the order of expression found in the Timeto-Position task for each experiment, we did not find any statistical differences, suggesting the similarity of our STEARC effects through the different experimental manipulations. It is possible that this similarity not only confirms, but also extends, the spatialtemporal association in all temporal concepts (D-time, S-time and T-span; Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). These similar results across different experiments could indicate that the vertical space-time association is in line with the conceptual metaphor more-is-up (Lakoff, 1987), with the addition of spatial information provided by the ordered sequence (Zhou et al., 2019). ...
Article
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Time is represented along a horizontal mental line with an association between the past (or short duration) and left space as well as between the future (or long duration) and right space. A possible vertical time representation is also supposed to exist, even if results are contradictory depending on the stimuli and response keys used. The aim of the present study was to test the presence of a vertical representation of temporal expressions, overcoming possible methodological limits. In Experiment 1, 167 Italian students had to categorize 20 Italian temporal expressions that appeared at the center of the screen with two analogous vertical response keys ("down" and "up" arrows of a regular keyboard). Specifically, in Experiment 1A participants pressed the down arrow with their left hand and the up arrow with their right hand, whereas in Experiment 1B the key-hand assignment was reversed. In Experiment 2, 25 participants underwent the same procedure using a vertically positioned response box. The same participants also performed a Time-to-Position task, in which they located temporal expressions along a vertical line. In both experiments, a space-time interaction was found, with an association between past expressions and the bottom (or down arrow) response key as well as between future expressions and the top (or up arrow) key. The results suggest a bottom-to-top mapping of time representation, according to the "more-is-up" metaphor. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... We chose temporal expressions because the spatialization of time is a paradigmatic case study of relations between concepts [36,37], and substantial research on gestures co-occurring with speech about time already exists [38][39][40][41]. While this work largely aimed at describing underlying representations, it provides characterizations of gesture in this domain that offer a good foundation for our attempt to quantify the relation between gestural and verbal signals. ...
... We utilized this resource to search for linguistic patterns in English corresponding to the four types of expressions that can be argued to typify the way that people talk about time across a wide range of cultures [37]: ...
Article
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The development of large-scale corpora has led to a quantum leap in our understanding of speech in recent years. By contrast, the analysis of massive datasets has so far had a limited impact on the study of gesture and other visual communicative behaviors. We utilized the UCLA-Red Hen Lab multi-billion-word repository of video recordings, all of them showing communicative behavior that was not elicited in a lab, to quantify speech-gesture co-occurrence frequency for a subset of linguistic expressions in American English. First, we objectively establish a systematic relationship in the high degree of co-occurrence between gesture and speech in our subset of expressions, which consists of temporal phrases. Second, we show that there is a systematic alignment between the informativity of co-speech gestures and that of the verbal expressions with which they co-occur. By exposing deep, systematic relations between the modalities of gesture and speech, our results pave the way for the data-driven integration of multimodal behavior into our understanding of human communication.
... First, the present study provides initial evidence for the existence of a sagittal MTL for autobiographical memories. Previous studies on MTL support the idea that the past and the future are conceived, respectively, behind and in front of the ego (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). Thus, manual responses to past-and future-related information are usually faster when the response direction is compatible with a back-to-front MTL. ...
Article
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Time is usually conceived of in terms of space: many natural languages refer to time according to a back-to-front axis. Indeed, whereas the past is usually conceived to be “behind us”, the future is considered to be “in front of us.” Despite temporal coding is pivotal for the development of autonoetic consciousness, little is known about the organization of autobiographical memories along this axis. Here we developed a spatial compatibility task (SCT) to test the organization of autobiographical memories along the sagittal plane, using spatiotemporal interference. Twenty-one participants were asked to recall both episodic and semantic autobiographical memories (EAM and SAM, respectively) to be used in the SCT. Then, during the SCT, they were asked to decide whether each event occurred before or after the event presented right before, using a response code that could be compatible with the back-to-front axis (future in front) or not (future at back). We found that performance was significantly worse during the non-compatible condition, especially for EAM. The results are discussed in light of the evidence for spatiotemporal encoding of episodic autobiographical memories, taking into account possible mechanisms explaining compatibility effects.
... As reviewed in Núñez and Cooperrider (2013) and consistent with such a metaphoric-mapping account, a bulk of studies has demonstrated that Western cultures conceptualize deictic time (which refers to past, present, and future) along the sagittal axis (front-back) and also along the lateral axis (left-right). On the sagittal axis, the past is behind and the future in front of a person (e.g., Clark, 1973a;Alverson, 1994). ...
Article
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The present study examines whether deictic time and valence are mentally associated, with a link between future and positive valence and a link between past and negative valence. We employed a novel paradigm, the two-choice-sentence-completion paradigm, to address this issue. Participants were presented with an initial sentence fragment that referred to an event that was either located in time (future or past) or of different valence (positive or negative). Participants chose between two completion phrases. When the given dimension in the initial fragment was time, the two completion phrase alternatives differed in valence (positive vs. negative). However, when the given dimension in the initial fragment was valence, the two completion phrase alternatives differed in time (future vs. past). As expected, participants chose completion phrases consistent with the proposed association between time and valence. Additional analyses involving individual differences concerning optimism/pessimism revealed that this association is particularly pronounced for people with an optimistic attitude.
... Núñez (2011) summarizes the culturally and historically mediated processes that led to the invention of the number line concept, with its left-to-right mapping of quantities onto a spatial representation where each number has a discrete location. Acquiring the number line concept would provide the child with an organizational framework for constructing a mental time line (Núñez & Cooperrider 2013). However, as noted by H&M, situating events in time is complicated by the ever-shifting present and our capacity to treat any moment as the "present" in a given discourse or narrative context. ...
Article
This commentary construes the relation between the two systems of temporal updating and temporal reasoning as a bifurcation and tracks it across three time scales: phylogeny, ontogeny, and microgeny. In taking a dynamic systems approach, flexibility, as mentioned by Hoerl & McCormack, is revealed as the key characteristic of human temporal cognition.
... The conceptual metaphor "TIME IS SPACE" is considered as a deep metaphor for all human being (Lakoff and Johnson, 1999, p. 139;Fauconnier and Turner, 2008, p. 56). Scholars have provided plentiful evidences from the following three aspects: (1) Evidence from languages and cultural artifacts (Clark, 1973;Traugott, 1978;Tversky et al., 1991;Haspelmath, 1997;Evans, 2003Evans, , 2005Evans, , 2013aEvans, , 2013bLevinson, 2003;Moore, 2006Moore, , 2011Moore, , 2014aMoore, ,b, 2017Boroditsky and Gaby, 2010;Fuhrman et al., 2011;Radden, 2011;Tenbrink, 2011;Núñez and Cooperrider, 2013;Pamies-Bertrán and Yuan, 2020); (2) Evidence from co-speech gesture or other non-linguistic thought (Casasanto and Lozano, 2006;Núnez and Sweetser, 2006;Cooperrider and Núñez, 2009;Casasanto, 2010Casasanto, , 2016Fuhrman and Boroditsky, 2010;Casasanto and Jasmin, 2012;Levinson and Majid, 2013;Bender and Beller, 2014;Cooperrider et al., 2014;Walker and Cooperrider, 2016;Li, 2017); (3) Evidence from private mental representations (Boroditsky, 2000;Boroditsky and Ramscar, 2002;Kemmerer, 2005;Núñez et al., 2006;Casasanto and Boroditsky, 2008;Margolies and Elizabeth, 2008;Ding et al., 2020). ...
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Starting from the overwhelming view that time is metaphorically conceptualized in terms of space, this study will, on the one hand, take the time interval words into minute analysis to confirm our view of event conceptualization of time at a more basic level along with space–time metaphoric conceptualization of time at a relational level. In alignment with the epistemology of the time–space conflation of the Chinese ancestors, our view is supported by the systematic examination of evidence related to the cultural origins of the conceptualization of time, through a scrutiny of the original meanings and construction of words related to intervals of time in Mandarin Chinese. This study offers a new explanation of how: (1) the conceptualization of time in Chinese is realized through metonymic cognition and (2) words related to specific intervals of time are coined based on the metonymic conceptualization of related events or a corresponding event schema. Five major types of event-based metonymies are identified, and their interactive functions are illustrated. Based on this evidence, we argue that the double nature of both metaphoric and metonymic time conceptualization in Mandarin Chinese lies in the fact that time interval words can be used in its time categorial sense or as a time entity which suggests the etymological origins of Chinese as ideograph. It is concluded therefore that the event-based metonymy conceptualization of time can provide better insights into the characteristics of Chinese modes of thinking and its influences on the perception of and interaction with the world. This study can also serve as good evidence for the shaping effect of language on cognition.
... Following this line of reasoning, remembering future intentions may involve higher cognitive processes other than executive functioning. Indeed, prior research showed that we understand and handle rather basic aspects of time (e.g., duration, sequence) by translating them in a spatial reference frame (Bender & Beller, 2014;Bonato, Zorzi, & Umiltà, 2012;Boroditsky, 2000;Casasanto & Boroditsky, 2008;Dehaene & Brannon, 2011;Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). On the basis of this notion, we propose a spatiotemporal hypothesis of more complex forms of PM. ...
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Abstract Most everyday activities involve delayed intentions referring to different event structures and timelines. Yet, past research has mostly considered prospective memory (PM) as a dual-task phenomenon in which the primary task to fulfill PM intentions is realized within an ongoing secondary task. We hypothesized that these simplified simulations of PM may have obscured the role of spatial relational processing that is functional to represent and meet the increased temporal demands in more complex PM scenarios involving multiple timelines. To test this spatiotemporal hypothesis, participants monitored four digital clocks, with PM deadlines referring either to the same clock (single-context condition) or different clocks (multiple-context condition), along with separate tests of spatial ability (mental rotation task) and executive functioning (working memory updating). We found that performance in the mental rotation task incrementally explained PM performance in the multiple-context, but not in the single-context, condition, even after controlling for individual differences in working memory updating and ongoing task performance. These findings suggest that delayed intentions occurring in multiple ongoing task contexts reflect independent contributions of working memory updating and mental rotation and that spatial relational processing may specifically be involved in higher cognitive functions, such as complex PM in multiple contexts or multitasking.
... Understanding time poses a profound challenge to the human mind and different cultures map temporal concepts in different ways onto different concrete experiences to deal with this problem (see Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013, for a review). ...
Article
The temporal focus hypothesis (TFH) proposes that whether the past or the future is conceptualized as being located in front depends on temporal focus: the balance of attention paid to the past (tradition) and the future (progress). How general is the TFH, and to what extent can cultures and subcultures be placed on a single line relating time spatialization and temporal focus in spite of stark differences in language, religion, history, and economic development? Data from 10 Western (sub)cultural groups (N = 1198,) were used to derive a linear model relating aggregated temporal focus and proportion of future-in-front responses. This model then successfully fitted 10 independently collected (sub)cultural groups in China and Vietnam (N = 899). Further analysis of the whole data set (N = 2,097) showed that the group-level relation arose at the individual level and allowed precise quantification of its influence. Finally, in an effort to apply the model to all relevant published data sets, we included recent data from Britain and South Africa: The former, but not the latter, fitted the model well. Temporal focus is a central factor that shapes how people around the world think of time in spatial terms.
... By contrast, it could be that whether one agrees with the other statements (e.g., "Things pass from future to present to past" or "Time is moving in relation to us") depends on the particular spatial metaphor or temporal frame of reference currently being adopted. Such an idea would be compatible with claims in the psycholinguistic literature that such metaphors or frames of reference are both variable and malleable (Bylund et al., 2020;de la Fuente et al., 2014;Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). ...
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People hold intuitive theories of the physical world, such as theories of matter, energy, and motion, in the sense that they have a coherent conceptual structure supporting a network of beliefs about the domain. It is not yet clear whether people can also be said to hold a shared intuitive theory of time. Yet, philosophical debates about the metaphysical nature of time often revolve around the idea that people hold one or more “common sense” assumptions about time: that there is an objective “now”; that the past, present, and future are fundamentally different in nature; and that time passes or flows. We empirically explored the question of whether people indeed share some or all of these assumptions by asking adults to what extent they agreed with a set of brief statements about time. Across two analyses, subsets of people's beliefs about time were found consistently to covary in ways that suggested stable underlying conceptual dimensions related to aspects of the “common sense” assumptions described by philosophers. However, distinct subsets of participants showed three mutually incompatible profiles of response, the most frequent of which did not closely match all of philosophers’ claims about common sense time. These exploratory studies provide a useful starting point in attempts to characterize intuitive theories of time.
... The tendency to conceptualize time in terms of space has been universally observed, theoretically investigated and experimentally validated by a large number of previous studies (Clark 1973;Lakoff and Johnson 1980;Boroditsky 2001;Moore 2006;Núñez and Sweetser 2006;Fuhrman et al. 2011;Núñez and Cooperrider 2013; see Bender and Beller 2014 for a recent literature review). However, despite the universality of using spatiotemporal metaphors, significant cross-linguistic differences have been highlighted in the literature with respect to the way that time is spatialized in languages. ...
Article
Mandarin speakers, similar to speakers of most other languages around the world, tend to conceptualize time in terms of space. However, it has been supposed that Mandarin speakers conceptualize time along both horizontal and vertical axes (i.e., along two mental timelines). This is attributed to two main factors. The first is the availability of both horizontal and vertical spatiotemporal metaphors in their language (in contrast to most other languages which rely predominantly on horizontal metaphors), and the second is the switch from the traditional Chinese vertical (still used occasionally currently) to the Western horizontal writing direction. This paper focuses on the vertical axis, readdressing the issues concerning the use of vertical spatiotemporal metaphors and the representations of time underlying these linguistic devices. Although numerous studies have been conducted on the topic, they have provided investigations only associated with the top-to-bottom mental timeline (i.e., with the past on the top and the future on the bottom). This, however, is not sufficient for understanding how Chinese people conceptualize time in terms of vertical metaphors. This paper proposes an extended theoretical explanation of vertical spatiotemporal metaphors and highlights that there might be a cyclical concept of time underlying the use of these metaphors.
... We may be coming up to graduation, and the deadline for an essay may be rapidly approaching. The conceptualization of time in terms of spatial relations and motion in space is to be found in a very wide range of languages and cultures (Haspelmath, 1997;Núñez and Cooperrider 2013) and is probably present in the vast majority of languages. It has been proposed on this basis that the conceptual metaphor TIME IS SPACE is universal (Lakoff and Johnson 1999;Fauconnier and Turner 2008). ...
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THE PUBLISHED VERSION OF THIS CHAPTER CAN NOW BE DOWNLOADED FROM RESEARCH GATE This Handbook chapter provides an overview of the interdisciplinary field of language, cognition and culture. The chapter explores the historical background of research from anthropological, psychological and linguistic perspectives. The key concepts of linguistic relativity, semiotic mediation and extended embodiment are explored and the field of cultural linguistics is outlined. Research methods are critically described. The state of the art in the key research topics of colour, space and time, and self and identities is outlined.
... Spatial representations are of fundamental importance for human cognition. They are crucial for orientation and navigation (e.g., Golledge, 1999;Hutchins, 1983), are considered part of children's "core knowledge" (Spelke & Kinzler, 2007), and affect how we conceptualize abstract domains such as time (Bender & Beller, 2014;N uñez & Cooperrider, 2013) or number (Dehaene, 2003;Walsh, 2003). Beyond these purely cognitive aspects, spatial representations also appear to provide metaphorical structure for evaluative judgments, especially along the vertical axis and the lateral axis, with up and right being predominantly linked to positive valence, and down or left to negative valence in various cultures (Crawford, Margolies, Drake, & Murphy, 2006;Keating, 1995;Lakoff & Johnson, 1999;Meier & Robinson, 2004). ...
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Speakers of English frequently associate location in space with valence, as in moving up and down the “social ladder.” If such an association also holds for the sagittal axis, an object “in front of” another object would be evaluated more positively than the one “behind.” Yet how people conceptualize relative locations depends on which frame of reference (FoR) they adopt—and hence on cross‐linguistically diverging preferences. What is conceptualized as “in front” in one variant of the relative FoR (e.g., translation) is “behind” under another variant (reflection), and vice versa. Do such diverging conceptualizations of an object's location also lead to diverging evaluations? In two studies employing an implicit association test, we demonstrate, first, that speakers of German, Chinese, and Japanese indeed evaluate the object “in front of” another object more positively than the one “behind.” Second, and crucially, the reversal of which object is conceptualized as “in front” involves a corresponding reversal of valence, suggesting an impact of linguistically imparted FoR preferences on evaluative processes.
... However, we need to draw ideas from existing research on temporal cognition to arrive at possible cognitive conceptualizations of time and of the future to ground our work. A fundamental notion is that time is spatialized in language as time metaphors (e.g., Evans, 2003;Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013), meaning that the vocabulary used to talk about time is often borrowed from spatial concepts (e.g., time passes, time flows or the time has arrived). These time metaphors distinguish between two different ways in which time is considered to move; either with the person themselves (e.g., the past lies behind me) or independent of a person's position (e.g., June comes after May). ...
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Considering how fundamental and ubiquitous temporal information is in discourse (e.g., Zwaan & Radvansky, 1998), it seems rather surprising that the impact of the grammaticalization of the future on the way we perceive the future has only been scarcely studied. We argue that this may be due to its rather abstract nature and how it has been previously operationalized. In this review, we lay the foundation for studying the impact of the grammaticalization of the future on mental representations of the future by taking an interdisciplinary perspective, connecting cognitive sciences, linguistics, psycholinguistics, economics, and health psychology. More specifically, we argue that experimental psycholinguistics, combined with more applied domains, constitute a promising research avenue.
... One prominent idea is that time is represented in spatial terms (for a review, see Bender & Beller, 2014). Indeed, visuospatial representations of time are reflected in how we think and communicate about time, and also in how we process and act on time (Bonato et al., 2012;Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). For example, time-related notions in language are often spatialized: the future lies ahead of us, we are looking back at earlier times, or the vacation was too short. ...
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In interval timing experiments, motor reproduction is the predominant method used when participants are asked to estimate an interval. However, it is unknown how its accuracy, precision and efficiency compare to alternative methods, such as indicating the duration by spatial estimation on a timeline. In two experiments, we compared different interval estimation methods. In the first experiment, participants were asked to reproduce an interval by means of motor reproduction, timeline estimation, or verbal estimation. We found that, on average, verbal estimates were more accurate and precise than line estimates and motor reproductions. However, we found a bias towards familiar whole second units when giving verbal estimates. Motor reproductions were more precise, but not more accurate than timeline estimates. In the second experiment, we used a more complex task: Participants were presented a stream of digits and one target letter and were subsequently asked to reproduce both the interval to target onset and the duration of the total stream by means of motor reproduction and timeline estimation. We found that motor reproductions were more accurate, but not more precise than timeline estimates. In both experiments, timeline estimates had the lowest reaction times. Overall, our results suggest that the transformation of time into space has only a relatively minor cost. In addition, they show that each estimation method comes with its own advantages, and that the choice of estimation method depends on choices in the experimental design: for example, when using durations with integer durations verbal estimates are superior, yet when testing long durations, motor reproductions are time intensive making timeline estimates a more sensible choice.
... The theory argues that we conceptualize and understand the abstract concept of time by mapping it onto the more concrete and experience-based domain of space (Boroditsky, 2000;Lakoff & Johnson, 1999). Thus, both theories argue for a close link between time and space and also highlight the role of sensorimotor experience (for reviews, see Bender & Beller, 2014;Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013;Winter et al., 2015). ...
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The processing of time activates a spatial left-to-right mental timeline, where past events are "located" to the left and future events to the right. If past and future words activate this mental timeline, then the processing of such words should interfere with hand movements that go in the opposite direction. To test this hypothesis, we conducted 3 visual lexical decision tasks with conjugated (past/future) verbs and pseudoverbs. In Experiment 1, participants moved a pen to the right or left of a trackpad to indicate whether a visual stimulus was a real word or not. Grammatical time and hand movements for yes responses went in the same direction in the congruent condition (e.g., past tense/leftward movement) but in opposite directions in the incongruent condition. Analyses showed that space-time incongruency significantly increased reaction times. In Experiment 2, we investigated the role of movement in this effect. Participants performed the same task by responding with a trackpad or a mouse, both of which required lateral movement through space, or a static keypress. We again obtained the space-time congruency effect, but only when the decision required movement through space. In Experiments 1 and 2, stimuli were preceded by a temporal prime. In Experiment 3, participants performed the same task without any prime. Results replicated the congruency effect, demonstrating that it does not depend upon temporal word priming. Altogether, results suggest automatic activation of a left-right mental timeline during word recognition, reinforcing the claim that the concept of Time is grounded in movement through space. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... Numerous studies have attempted to show the effects of language-specific differences on the thought-processes of speakers in laboratory tasks, for instance in the domain of time (for review, see Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013), color terminology (e.g., Thierry et al., 2009;Winawer et al., 2007), grammatical gender (e.g., Beller et al., 2015;Bender et al., 2016a b;Boroditsky et al., 2003;Clarke et al., 1981;Montefinese et al., 2019;Sera et al., 2002, etc). Worries about effects observed in the laboratory, however, are: (i) that participants may guess what the study is about and respond accordingly; (ii) that such effects might be "hot-house flowers" (i.e., they cannot survive outside of the laboratory in the full real-world complexity); and (iii) that laboratory findings may reveal just "momentary biases, inconsequential short-term perturbations" that are immediately overcome if people are allowed plenty of time for reasoned reflection, or if they are making real-life judgments (Segel & Boroditsky, 2011, p. 1; see also Aikhenvald, 2016;Bowers et al., 1999;Deutscher, 2010). ...
Article
In this paper, we analyze a large-scale corpus of Arab cartoons to measure the correspondence between grammatical gender in Arabic and personified gender in images. The results show that the effect is very strong for males (a near-perfect relationship between the two, grammatical and visual depiction), but the reverse is the case for females (the grammatical description is almost the opposite in perceived meaning of the graphical depiction). It can be a substantive cartoon effect. That is, there is more ambiguity in images depicting females due to some implicit cultural effect (i.e., males/gendered maleness dominates even in the text in ‘male-centric’ cultures). We look at the implications of this androcentric behavior for understanding the complex set of relationships linking language, thought, and culture. Such research will aid both gender studies and cognition scholarship based on multimodal stimuli.
... Indeed, our past episodic memories seem to anchor our ability to engage in future oriented mental time travel, for example, amnesic patients exhibit an impoverished ability to imagine future scenarios (Hassabis et al., 2007;Race et al., 2011). The ability to conceptualize time and engage in mental time travel is hypothesized to have been co-opted from the neural circuits that allowed animals to perform the much more basic and fundamental task of navigating through space (Nunez and Cooperrider, 2013;Buonomano, 2017). ...
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As a neuroscientist and a theoretical physicist, both working on time, we have decided to open a direct dialogue to examine if the apparent discrepancies regarding the nature of time can be composed.
... Due to their visuo-spatial nature, co-speech gestures are particularly well-suited to depict spatial relations (Graham & Argyle, 1975;Holler & Beattie, 2002, 2003. This extends to spatial metaphors and cross-domain metaphorical mappings as can be seen in co-speech gestures representing time as space, for example (Casasanto & Jasmin, 2012;Gu, Zheng, & Swerts, 2019;Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013;Núñez & Sweetser, 2006). So there is good reason to expect co-speech gestures to represent auditory sounds in terms of spatial features that in turn reflect their cognitive representation. ...
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Height‐pitch associations are claimed to be universal and independent of language, but this claim remains controversial. The present study sheds new light on this debate with a multimodal analysis of individual sound and melody descriptions obtained in an interactive communication paradigm with speakers of Dutch and Farsi. The findings reveal that, in contrast to Dutch speakers, Farsi speakers do not use a height‐pitch metaphor consistently in speech. Both Dutch and Farsi speakers’ co‐speech gestures did reveal a mapping of higher pitches to higher space and lower pitches to lower space, and this gesture space‐pitch mapping tended to co‐occur with corresponding spatial words (high‐low). However, this mapping was much weaker in Farsi speakers than Dutch speakers. This suggests that cross‐linguistic differences shape the conceptualization of pitch and further calls into question the universality of height‐pitch associations.
... Thus, temporal cognition is thought to reuse neural structures devoted to spatial cognition. This close link between space and time was theorized under the name of the mental timeline (for reviews see: Bender & Beller, 2014;Bonato et al., 2012;Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). The mental timeline (MTL) refers to the phenomenon whereby individuals represent the temporal content of verbal stimuli (e.g., past and future) in two spatial axes that are centered on the body: for example, back-to-front (i.e., past in the back and future in the front; (Miles et al., 2010;Sell & Kaschak, 2011;Torralbo et al., 2006;Ulrich et al., 2012) and left-toright (i.e., past on the left and future on the right (Bergen & Chan Lau, 2012;Grasso et al., 2021;Santiago et al., 2007;Weger & Pratt, 2008). ...
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How do people grasp the abstract concept of time? It has been argued that abstract concepts, such as future and past, are grounded in sensory-motor experience. When responses to words that refer to the past or the future are either spatially compatible or incompatible with a left-to-right timeline, a space-time congruency effect is observed. In the present study, we investigated whether reading expertise would determine the strength of the space-time congruency effect, which would suggest that learning to read and write drives the effect. We compared two types of space-time congruency effects, one where spatial incongruency was generated by the location of the stimuli on the screen and one where it was generated by the location of the responses on the keyboard. While the first type of incongruency was visuo-spatial only, the second involved the motor system. Results showed stronger space-time congruency effects for the second type of incongruency (i.e., when the motor system was involved) than for the first type (visuo-spatial). Crucially, reading expertise, as measured by a standardized reading test, predicted the size of the space-time congruency effects. Altogether, these results reinforce the claim that the spatial representation of time is grounded in spatially-directed movement, such as reading or writing.
... Time is not a unitary concept, but a myriad of different processes (e.g., representations of temporal duration, temporal sequence, and temporal orientation). Insofar as different types of relationship between temporal events are concerned, time can be classified into deictic time and sequential time (Núñez and Cooperrider, 2013). Deictic time is employed when speakers locate a temporal period with respect to the deictic center (the present moment "now, " also called the "ego"), reflecting past/future relationships (e.g., back in those days, bright future ahead of us). ...
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This study recruited English monolinguals, Mandarin monolinguals, and Mandarin–English (ME) bilinguals to examine whether native English and native Mandarin speakers think about time differently and whether the acquisition of L2 English could reshape native Mandarin speakers’ mental representations of temporal sequence. Across two experiments, we used the temporal congruency categorization paradigm which involved two-alternative forced-choice reaction time tasks to contrast experimental conditions that were assumed to be either compatible or incompatible with the internal spatiotemporal associations. Results add to previous studies by confirming that native English and native Mandarin speakers do think about time differently, and the significant crosslinguistic discrepancy primarily lies in the vertical representations of time flow. However, current findings also clarify the existing literature, demonstrating that the acquisition of L2 English does not appear to affect native Mandarin speakers’ temporal cognition. ME bilinguals, irrespective of whether they attained elementary or advanced level of English proficiency, exhibited temporal thinking patterns commensurate with those of Mandarin monolinguals. Some theoretical implications regarding the effect of bilingualism on cognition in general can be drawn from the present study, a crucial one being that it provides evidence against the view that L2 acquisition can reshape habitual modes of thinking established by L1.
... The experience of time passing is "at once familiar and baffling" (Prosser, 2013, p. 315) since everyone knows what it means to say that time passes, but no one can really tell what time is. Within cognitive linguistics, it is widely assumed that our conceptualization of time relies on another domain of experience, which is perceptually more concrete and can be directly accessed through our senses: movement in space (e.g., Evans, 2003;Fauconnier & Turner, 2008;Moore, 2014;Núñez, 1999;Núñez & Sweetser, 2006; for an overview see Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). Being deeply intertwined with temporal experience, movement in space qualifies, according to the embodiment hypothesis, as a source domain for the representation of the target domain of time (Lakoff & Johnson, 1999). ...
Article
When talking about anticipated events, speakers can conceptualize them either as destinations towards which they are moving or as entities moving towards them, which correspond to the Ego- and the Time-moving metaphors, respectively (cf. ‘ We are approaching Christmas ’ and ‘ Christmas is approaching ’). Research in psycholinguistics has shown affective valence, i.e. whether the conceptualized event is perceived as positive or negative, to be one of the factors that modulate metaphor choice; positive anticipation is preferentially associated with Ego-moving expressions, whereas negative anticipation is predominantly associated with Time-moving metaphors. This paper sets out to test if the time-affect association surfaces in naturally-occurring language use when both metaphorical patterns are available. By focusing on the temporal usage of the verb approach , we provide linguistic evidence in favor of such an affective bias in time representations. In addition, the language data point to a semantic preference for a particular type of event (i.e., personal vs social) under each metaphorical pattern. We interpret this finding as preliminary evidence for a possible semantic bias in time representations to be further investigated.
... Irrespective of the account predicting a vertical spatialtemporal association, temporal concepts can be classified into three main categories: deictic time (D-time), sequence time (S-time), and duration (T-span). The first two definitions refer to past/future associations and those that take place earlier/later than an activity, implying an ordered sequence of events, while the T-span refers to quantifiable (short/long) durations (Núňez & Cooperrider, 2013). Indeed, the definition of time as duration could induce a more pronounced magnitude representation as seen in the temporal estimation task in which participants have to classify shorter (less than) or longer (more than) durations (in several timescales, milliseconds in Fabbri et al., 2012Fabbri et al., , 2013aFabbri et al., , 2013b or seconds in Vallesi et al., 2008Vallesi et al., , 2011Vallesi et al., , 2014 with reference to a fixed middle duration. ...
Article
The space-time interaction suggests a left-to-right directionality in the mind’s representation of elapsing time. However, studies showing a possible vertical time representation are scarce and contradictory. In Experiment 1, 32 participants had to judge the duration (200, 300, 500 or 600 milliseconds) of the target stimulus that appeared at the top, centre, or bottom of the screen, compared to a reference stimulus (400 milliseconds) always appeared in the centre of the screen. In Experiment 2, 32 participants were administered with the same procedure, but the reference stimulus appeared at the top, centre, or bottom of the screen and the target stimulus was fixed in the centre location. In both experiments, a space-time interaction was found with an association between short durations and bottom response key as well as between long durations and top key. The evidence of a vertical mental timeline was further confirmed by the distance effect with a lower level of performance for durations close to that of the reference stimulus. The results suggest a bottom-to-top mapping of time representation, more in line with the metaphor “more is up”.
... We may be coming up to graduation, and the deadline for an essay may be rapidly approaching. The conceptualization of time in terms of spatial relations and motion in space is to be found in a very wide range of languages and cultures (Haspelmath 1997;Núñez & Cooperrider 2013) and is probably present in the vast majority of languages. It has been proposed on this basis that the conceptual metaphor time is space is universal (Lakoff & Johnson 1999;Fauconnier & Turner 2008). ...
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This chapter reviews the history, main theoretical issues, methods and selected key research topics in the study of language, culture and cognition. The chapter emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of the field, summarizing the contributions of anthropology and psychology as well as linguistics. It traces the development of cultural linguistics from anthropological and cognitive linguistic traditions. The history and present status of the theory of linguistic relativity, as well as current approaches drawing upon extended embodiment, are discussed. The key research topics of colour, space and time, and self and identity are addressed, and the state of the art is summarized in each of them.
... While this research emphasises variability in which spatial direction people associate with the past-to-future direction of time, it is important to remember that this variation is accompanied by an apparent universality in our more general tendency to draw upon spatial concepts in order to represent time and to communicate with one another about the temporal ordering of events (Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013). Another apparently universal feature of our temporal language is the use of both tensed/'deictic' expressions (describing events as past, present or future) and tenseless/'sequence' expressions (describing events as earlier than, later than, or simultaneous with other events), which appears to be ubiquitous across different languages and cultures (Sinha & Gärdenfors, 2014). ...
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Appeals to the ‘common sense’, or ‘naïve’, or ‘folk’ concept of time, and the purported phenomenology as of time passing, play a substantial role in philosophical theorising about time. When making these appeals, philosophers have been content to draw upon their own assumptions about how non‐philosophers think about time. This paper reviews a series of recent experiments bringing these assumptions into question. The results suggest that the way non‐philosophers think about time is far less metaphysically demanding than philosophers have assumed.
... Cognitive science researchers have found that space is the basis for linguistic and mental representations of time (Borodistky, 2018;Lakoff & Johnson, 1980;Núñez & Cooperrider, 2013; but see Rodríguez, 2019;Sinha, Sinha, Zinken, & Sampaio, 2011, for alternative findings). Across many languages and cultures, people generally conceptualize time on a sagittal axis, with the future being located in front of them and the past behind (Clark, 1973). ...
Article
Accumulating evidence suggests that people’s sense of the spatial location of events in time is flexible across cultures, contexts, and individuals. Yet few studies have established whether time spatialization is correlated with traumatic experiences. Based on findings that people tend to demonstrate a past time orientation when suffering from disasters, the present research investigated how earthquake experience is associated with temporal focus and time spatialization. Study 1 compared responses of residents in an earthquake-hit area with those of residents in a non-disaster area about two weeks after the disaster had occurred. The results showed that participants in the disaster area were more past-focused and produced more past-in-front responses than participants in the non-disaster area. In Study 2, a follow-up survey was conducted in the same areas ten months after the earthquake to examine whether the impact of disasters on spatial conceptions of time would decay as time elapsed. The findings indicated that participants in these two areas showed no differences in temporal focus and implicit space–time mappings. Taken together, these findings provide support for the Temporal Focus Hypothesis. They also have implications for understanding fluctuation in temporal focus and the high malleability of temporal mappings across individuals.
Article
According to the Temporal Focus Hypothesis, people's front-back mental space–time mappings are associated with their attention to the time frames of past and/or future. Based upon the findings that pathogen threats elicit preferences for social conservatism and traditions, we theorize that activating thinking about COVID-19, an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019, will promote people's past-oriented thinking and increase their responses of past-in-front mapping. By manipulating saliency of coronavirus threat, our results showed that exposure to information about coronavirus created changes in a stronger past focus and caused a significant increase in the rate of past-in-front responses, which provides supporting evidence for the Temporal Focus Hypothesis. These findings suggest that the unprecedented pandemic not only harms people's health, but also can influence the way they construe the world.
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There is a distinction between languages that use the duration is length metaphor, like English (e.g., long time ), and languages like Spanish that conceptualise time using the duration is quantity metaphor (e.g., much time ). The present study examines the use of both metaphors, exploring their multimodal behaviour in Spanish speakers. We analyse co-speech gesture patterns in the TV news setting, using data from the NewsScape Library, that co-occur with expressions that trigger the duration is quantity construal (e.g., durante todo ‘during the whole’) and the duration is length construal in the from X to Y construction (e.g., desde el principio hasta el final ‘from beginning to end’). Results show that both metaphors tend to co-occur with a semantic gesture, with a preference for the lateral axis, as reported in previous studies. However, our data also indicate that the direction of the gesture changes depending on the construal. The duration is quantity metaphor tends to be performed with gestures with an outwards direction, in contrast with the duration is length construal, which employ a left-to-right directionality. These differences in gesture realisation point to the existence of different construals for the concept of temporal duration.
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Our earliest tools are our bodies. Our hands raise and turn and toss and carry and push and pull, our legs walk and climb and kick allowing us to move and act in the world and to create the multitude of artifacts that improve our lives. The list of actions made by our hands and feet and other parts of our bodies is long. What is more remarkable is we turn those actions in the world into actions on thought through gestures, language, and graphics, thereby creating cognitive tools that expand the mind. The focus here is gesture; gestures transform actions on perceptible objects to actions on imagined thoughts, carrying meaning with them rapidly, precisely, and directly. We review evidence showing that gestures enhance our own thinking and change the thought of others. We illustrate the power of gestures in studies showing that gestures uniquely change conceptions of time, from sequential to simultaneous, from sequential to cyclical, and from a perspective embedded in a timeline to an external perspective looking on a timeline, and by so doing obviate the ambiguities of an embedded perspective. We draw parallels between representations in gesture and in graphics; both use marks or actions arrayed in space to communicate more immediately than symbolic language.
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Across many languages, people conceptualize the past or the future as in front of them. However, the direction of the mental sagittal space-time mapping may differ across cultures, contexts, and individuals. According to the Temporal Focus Hypothesis (TFH), people's implicit space-time associations vary according to the degree to which they think about the past and the future. Previous research has revealed a variety of factors related to temporal attention that may affect spatial conceptions of time. Underexplored, however, is whether and how dispositional optimism is related to space-time associations. We propose that dispositional optimism, encouraging a future focus, can lead to a higher likelihood of future-in-front mapping. In Studies 1 (N = 146) and 2 (N = 195), we tested this prediction in Han Chinese student and non-student populations, respectively. In Study 3 (N = 85), we explored this linkage in an additional population, the Qiang minority in China. Results from these studies consistently showed that participants, who tended to map the future in front, exhibited higher degree of dispositional optimism than those who mapped past events in front. These findings provided the first evidence that individual differences in dispositional optimism may influence people's spatial-temporal thinking, supporting the TFH.
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The Constructed Other traces three recurring themes in Western accounts of Japanese architecture: a wish to see Western architectural theories reflected in Japanese buildings; efforts to integrate elements of Japanese architecture into Western buildings; and a desire to connect contemporary Japanese architecture with Japanese tradition. It suggests that together these narratives have had the effect of creating what amounts to a mythical version of Japanese architecture, often at odds with historical fact, but which has nonetheless exercised a powerful influence on the development of building design internationally.
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We analyze sign locations in 776 signs from 16 antonym pairs across 27 sign languages to examine metaphorical mappings of emotional valence (positive vs. negative) along different spatial axes. We conduct both an automatic and a manual analysis of sign location and movement direction, to investigate cross-linguistic patterns of spatial valence contrasts. Contrary to our hypothesis, negative valence concepts are generally articulated higher up than their positive counterparts. However, when we consider movement in space, we find that although signs generally move downward over time, positive valence concepts are associated with upward movements more often than their negative counterparts. This points to a systematic pattern for vertical valence contrasts – a known metaphor across languages – iconically mapped onto physical sign articulation. We similarly, but surprisingly, find a difference in movements along the sagittal axis, such that outward movement is associated with positive valence concepts more often than negative.
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In order to think and talk about time, people often use the ego- or time-moving representation. In the ego-moving representation, the self travels through a temporal landscape, leaving past events behind and approaching future events; in the time-moving representation, the self is stationary and temporal events pass by. Several studies contest to the psychological ramifications of these two representations by, inter alia , demonstrating a link between them and event valence. These studies have, however, been limited to English speakers, even though language has been found to affect time representation. The present study therefore replicated Margolies and Crawford’s (2008) experiment on event valence and time representation amongst speakers of Dutch. Unlike Margolies and Crawford (2008), we do not find that positive valence leads to the endorsement of an ego-moving statement. Future studies will need to determine the ways through which language might moderate the relation between event valence and time representation.
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Cross-cultural exploration and adaptation of psychological tests and assessments is critical to ensure accurate and reliable results. This research study conducted a qualitative cultural exploration of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Toolbox Cognition Battery assessments in India as an initial step towards the cultural adaptation and validation of the instruments. As the assessments were developed in the United States, they required cultural exploration before they were used in India. Using interpretive phenomenological analysis, the study included a sample of 30 participants across Mumbai, Surat, and Derod. Five themes emerged from the data analysis: contentedness, lack of relatability, recommendations for change, the rural Indian lifestyle, and the variable of education. The most common code was "satisfied." While this research does indicate that participants comprehend the assessments, recommendations were made to change images and storylines to reflect the Indian culture. They focused on Indian food, Indian clothing, Indian festivals, family, and religion in India. The findings from this study can be used to inform future adaptation and validation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Toolbox Cognition Battery assessments in India.
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En el presente capítulo, se presenta evidencia a favor del procesamiento del tiempo a nivel conceptual
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This commentary relates Hoerl & McCormack's dual systems perspective to models of cognitive development emphasizing representational redescription and the role of culturally constructed tools, including language, in providing flexible formats for thinking. We describe developmental processes that enable children to construct a mental time line, situate themselves in time, and overcome the primacy of the here and now.
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The ego-moving perspective and the time-moving perspective are the two common metaphors used to spatially represent time. The former describes time as a stationary object and individuals travel through it. Conversely, under the time-moving perspective, individuals remain stationary while time moves toward them. Evidence suggests that religious systems have specific effects on the construal of temporal succession along the sagittal axis. The present study investigated whether religion also affects people’s perspectives on the movement of events in time. Using the ambiguous “Next Wednesday’s meeting” question, we compared preferred responses from two groups of participants with different levels of personal agency: Chinese Taoists and atheists. Based on the Taoist principle of wu-wei which permits its believers to keep stationary and to sense passivity, being approached by desirable future events, we predicted that Taoists, who evidence a lower level of personal agency, would be more likely to adopt the time-moving perspective in comparison to atheists. Analyses of disambiguation responses and personal agency scores support our hypotheses. Overall, these findings suggest that individual variation related to religious concepts might be associated with people’s preferred metaphorical perspectives on time.
Chapter
The systems ontology is characterised, corresponding to recent systemic findings about the nature of reality. Three key features, an idea of the interconnectedness of all things, the idea of enactive cognition , and an idea of the teleonomic principle, are suggested as central to a systems perspective. The irrationality inhering in the modern outlook and its rigid and limited view of basic ontological elements such as space and time is described. The debates and understanding of cognition are reviewed and the enactive idea of cognition is elaborated by incorporating a model called the anticipatory present moment . The inherent paradoxes in reality as constructed from purely rational frames are described. The chapter concludes by stating plausible political , epistemic, and pragmatic goals for systems thinking that follow on this systems ontology.
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In this dissertation, I investigate the role of the body as a critical part of linguistic meaning-making, taking a cognitive and usage-based approach to language. These approaches prioritize the investigation of the linguistic conventions of everyday interactive contexts, namely, of spontaneous conversation, since they posit the importance of spoken language, rather than speaker’s intuition or written text, as primary data. As Enfield (Enfield 2017: 3) puts it, conversation “is where language lives and breathes.” Placing face-to-face conversation at the centre of linguistic study requires a consideration of the multiple modalities involved in language in interaction. In addition to linguistic features in the utterance, these include movements of the body such as manual gestures, head movements, shoulder shrugs, postural shifts, eye-gaze and brow movements, known collectively as co-speech behaviour. To examine the contribution of the body to linguistic meaning, I investigate language use in interaction across three broadly construed linguistic domains: ASPECT, CONTRAST, and DISCOURSE NAVIGATION. I use the Red Hen archive, an international multimedia database of broadcast media featuring over 400,000 hours of video and 5-billion words of time-aligned transcripts of largely North American English, to observe linguistic and co-speech behaviour in hundreds of spontaneous conversations by a wide range of speakers over these three linguistic domains. I search for a range of linguistic expressions (as text strings in Red Hen) that characterize each domain and describe the embodied structures that accompany them. Using a combination of established (Bressem 2013) and novel annotation methodologies, I examine the manual gestures and movements of the head, shoulders, face, and eyes, and apply quantitative and statistical methods of data analysis. In the first case study (Chapter 3), I explore the multimodal expression of event structure expressed through ASPECT-marking constructions. In the second set of studies (Chapter 4), I examine the behaviours associated with the marking of CONTRAST in speech. Finally, in the third set of case studies (Chapter 5), I investigate the co-speech behaviours aligned with linguistic expressions that help speakers signal the way they move through a conversation, i.e. expressions of DISCOURSE NAVIGATION which involve stance-taking at levels well beyond the simple sentence. The findings strongly suggest that the embodied representation of these domains is conventionalized and, furthermore, reveal how different articulators (e.g. gesture, head, shoulder, and torso movement) are recruited uniquely in conventionalized ways in each of these domains. For instance, stance is strongly associated with upper body movement as well as the use of manual gesture. This dissertation marshals evidence for the coordinated and recurrent bodily enactment of grammatical and discourse-level expressions. Thus, its aim is to contribute to a more robust understanding of the role of the body in the specific domains addressed here and more broadly in natural discourse. This focus on face-to-face interaction as a starting point for linguistic description and language documentation has important implications for the study of languages that rely predominantly on verbal and visual signals (e.g. signed and oral Indigenous languages), in addition to contributing to developments in multimedia technologies, e.g. in virtual agents that rely on human-like language use and animated dialogue in films and video games.
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It is widely assumed that there is a natural, prelinguistic conceptual domain of time whose linguistic organization is universally structured via metaphoric mapping from the lexicon and grammar of space and motion. We challenge this assumption on the basis of our research on the Amondawa (Tupi Kawahib) language and culture of Amazonia. Using both observational data and structured field linguistic tasks, we show that linguistic space-time mapping at the constructional level is not a feature of the Amondawa language, and is not employed by Amondawa speakers (when speaking Amondawa). Amondawa does not recruit its extensive inventory of terms and constructions for spatial motion and location to express temporal relations. Amondawa also lacks a numerically based calendric system. To account for these data, and in opposition to a Universal Space-Time Mapping Hypothesis, we propose a Mediated Mapping Hypothesis, which accords causal importance to the numerical and artefact-based construction of time-based (as opposed to event-based) time interval systems.
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Do people understand time in the same way across languages and cultures, or is our understanding of time culturally specific? On the one hand, anthropologists have often emphasised differences between the ways cultures interpret time (see Gell, 1992, and Munn, 1992, for reviews of the literature). On the other hand, some of the problems that conceptions of time address must be addressed by humans in all environments: human life is finite all around the globe, and humans live in groups which need to coordinate their activities. Maybe then there is some cognitive bedrock of thinking about time that is the same across languages and cultures? One way of finding out is to look for universals in the way people across languages talk about time (Bloch, 1989). But although the anthropology of time is a vast research field with a long history, a systematic linguistic anthropology of time is less developed than one might expect (Levinson, 2004). This chapter discusses possibilities of making one aspect of such a linguistic anthropology of time more systematic. In particular, I will discuss possible heuristic contributions that typologies of spatial frames of reference might make to typologies of temporal frames of reference.
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The TIME IS SPACE metaphor consists in the use of a spatial mental time line (either left-right or front-back) to represent time. One of the issues still to be resolved is whether these space-time mappings can be automatically activated independently from the goals of the task. Prior attempts to settle this issue have failed to match adequately the temporally relevant and irrelevant tasks. In the present study we presented Spanish verbs and nonverbs conjugated in past and future forms in both a time judgment and a lexical decision task. Results showed that the left-right space-time mapping is only active when the task requires temporal discrimination, speaking against an automatic activation of the mental time line.
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Research in cognitive linguistics and in processing of temporal metaphors has traditionally distinguished between Moving-Ego and Moving-Time mappings: Either the Ego is construed as moving regarding fixed temporal landmarks or Time is construed as moving regarding the Ego. Both of these metaphors involve time events in reference to an Ego, which specifies the present time Now.We build on recent theoretical suggestions for a more fundamental classification of temporal metaphors: Ego- and Time-Reference-Point metaphors (Ego-RP and Time-RP). The distinction focuses on the role of reference points in ascribing orientation, rather than on the identity of a moving entity (Ego or Time). Using visual priming experiments we provide evidence of the psychological reality of the Time-RP metaphor, a temporal metaphor with no reference to an Ego.
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This paper describes the linguistic description of time, the accompanying gestural system, and the "mental time lines" found in the speakers of Yélî Dnye, an isolate language spoken offshore from Papua New Guinea. Like many indigenous languages, Yélî Dnye has no fixed anchoring of time and thus no calendrical time. Instead, time in Yélî Dnye linguistic description is primarily anchored to the time of speaking, with six diurnal tenses and special nominals for n days from coding time; this is supplemented with special constructions for overlapping events. Consequently there is relatively little cross-over or metaphor from space to time. The gesture system, on the other hand, uses pointing to sun position to indicate time of day and may make use of systematic time lines. Experimental evidence fails to show a single robust axis used for mapping time to space. This suggests that there may not be a strong, universal tendency for systematic space-time mappings.
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We examine representations of time among the Mianmin of Papua New Guinea. We begin by describing the patterns of spatial and temporal reference in Mian. Mian uses a system of spatial terms that derive from the orientation and direction of the Hak and Sek rivers and the surrounding landscape. We then report results from a temporal arrangement task administered to a group of Mian speakers. The results reveal evidence for a variety of temporal representations. Some participants arranged time with respect to their bodies (left to right or toward the body). Others arranged time as laid out on the landscape, roughly along the east/west axis (either east to west or west to east). This absolute pattern is consistent both with the axis of the motion of the sun and the orientation of the two rivers, which provides the basis for spatial reference in the Mian language. The results also suggest an increase in left to right temporal representations with increasing years of formal education (and the reverse pattern for absolute spatial representations for time). These results extend previous work on spatial representations for time to a new geographical region, physical environment, and linguistic and cultural system.
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Despite a close correspondence between spatial and temporal cognition, empirical approaches to the two domains have used distinct theoretical conceptions: frames of reference for the former, and moving perspectives and reference-point metaphors for the latter. Our analysis reveals that these conceptions can - and should - be related more closely to each other. Mapping spatial frames of reference (FoRs) onto temporal relations, we obtain a taxonomy that allows us to distinguish more types of referencing than existing conceptions do and that is applicable to linguistic cases not accounted for so far. A cross-cultural experiment with speakers of German, English, Chinese and Tongan provides evidence for the psychological reality of the newly proposed FoRs and establishes culture-specific preferences. We conclude that spatial referencing systems indeed help to organize temporal representations.
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The three Frames of Reference recognized in the current inventory of spatial-language types are differentiated by their placement of the Anchor from which the vector of search space from Ground to Figure is calculated (Levinson 1996). In certain well-recognized examples, Anchor merges with Ground. The existing analysis treats this merged component as analytically Ground rather than Anchor; its location in or out of the speech situation is therefore taken to be independent of the Frame of Reference typology. Instead, I treat this component as analytically Anchor, making its speech-situation status criterial to the typology. Four, not three, Frames of Reference now appear. The fourth, "Direct" frame, distinguishes binary locutions with a speech participant as Ground/Anchor (e.g. 'in front of you') from "Object-Centered" binary locutions in which Ground/Anchor is not a speech participant (e.g. 'in front of the kettle'). This four-frame analysis corresponds better than does the three-frame one to the logic of rotation sensitivity which has been used to show Whorfian parallels between language and conceptualization across cultures. I close by discussing the application of Frame of Reference typology to pointing gestures, and show how recognition of the fourth frame of reference allows us to bring discussion of these, and of the linguistic demonstratives and locatives with which they so frequently co-occur, fully within the Frame of Reference typology.
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Adults, infants and non-human primates are thought to possess similar non-verbal numer-ical systems, but there is considerable debate regarding whether all vertebrates share the same numerical abilities. Despite an abundance of studies, cross-species comparison remains difficult because the methodology employed and the context of species exam-ination vary considerably across studies. To fill this gap, we used the same procedure, stimuli, and numerical contrasts to compare quantity abilities of five teleost fish: redtail splitfin, guppies, zebrafish, Siamese fighting fish, and angelfish. Subjects were trained to discriminate between two sets of geometrical figures using a food reward. Fish initially were trained on an easy numerical ratio (5 vs. 10 and 6 vs. 12). Once they reached the learning criterion, they were subjected to non-reinforced probe trials in which the set size was constant but numerical ratios varied (8 vs. 12 and 9 vs. 12).They also were subjected to probe trials in which the ratio was constant, but the total set size was increased (25 vs. 50) or decreased (2 vs. 4). Overall, fish generalized to numerosities with a 0.67 ratio, but failed with a 0.75 ratio; they generalized to a smaller set size, but not to a larger one. Only minor differences were observed among the five species. However, in one species, zebrafish, the proportion of individuals reaching the learning criterion was much smaller than in the others. In a control experiment, zebrafish showed a similar lower performance in shape discrimination, suggesting that the observed difference resulted from the zebrafish's diffi-culty in learning this procedure rather than from a cross-species variation in the numerical domain.
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Around the world, it is common to both talk and think about time in terms of space. But does our conceptualization of time simply reflect the space/time metaphors of the language we speak? Evidence from the Australian language Kuuk Thaayorre suggests not. Kuuk Thaayorre speakers do not employ active spatial metaphors in describing time. But this is not to say that spatial language is irrelevant to temporal construals: non-linguistic representations of time are shown here to covary with the linguistic system of describing space. This article contrasts two populations of ethnic Thaayorre from Pormpuraaw - one comprising Kuuk Thaayorre/English bilinguals and the other English-monolinguals - in order to distinguish the effects of language from environmental and other factors. Despite their common physical, social, and cultural context, the two groups differ in their representations of time in ways that are congruent with the language of space in Kuuk Thaayorre and English, respectively. Kuuk Thaayorre/English bilinguals represent time along an absolute east-to-west axis, in alignment with the high frequency of absolute frame of reference terms in Kuuk Thaayorre spatial description. The English-monolinguals, in contrast, represent time from left-to-right, aligning with the dominant relative frame of reference in English spatial description. This occurs in the absence of any east-to-west metaphors in Kuuk Thaayorre, or left-to-right metaphors in English. Thus the way these two groups think about time appears to reflect the language of space and not the language of time.
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In numerous languages, space provides a productive domain for the expression of time. This paper examines how time-to-space mapping is realized in Yucatec Maya. At the linguistic level, Yucatec Maya has numerous resources to express deictic time, whereas expression of sequential time is highly constrained. Specifically, in gesture, we do not find any metaphorical oriented timeline, but only an opposition between "current time" (mapped on the "here" space) and "remote time" (mapped on the "remote/distant space"). Additionally, past and future are not contrasted. Sequential or deictic time in language and gesture are not conceived as unfolding along a metaphorical oriented line (e.g., left-right or front-back) but as a succession of completed events not spatially organized. Interestingly, although Yucatec Maya speakers preferentially use a geocentric spatial frame of reference (FoR), especially visible in their use of gesture, time is not mapped onto a geocentric axis (e.g., east-west). We argue that, instead of providing a source for time mapping, the use of a spatial geocentric FoR in Yucatec Maya seems to inhibit it. The Yucatec Maya expression of time in language and gesture fits the more general cultural conception of time as cyclic. Experimental results confirmed, to some extent, this non-linear, non-directional conception of time in Yucatec Maya.
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It has long been argued that spatial aspects of language influence people's conception of time. However, what spatial aspect of language is the most influential in this regard? To test this, two experiments were conducted in Hong Kong and Macau with literate Cantonese speakers. The results suggest that the crucial factor in literate Cantonese people's spatial conceptualization of time is their experience with writing and reading Chinese script. In Hong Kong and Macau, Chinese script is written either in the traditional vertical orientation, which is still used, or the newer horizontal orientation, which is more common these days. Before the 1950s, the dominant horizontal direction was right-to-left. However, by the 1970s, the dominant horizontal direction had become left-to-right. In both experiments, the older participants predominately demonstrated time in a right-to-left direction, whereas younger participants predominately demonstrated time in a left-to-right direction, consistent with the horizontal direction that was prevalent when they first became literate.
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Linguistic expressions of time often draw on spatial language, which raises the question of whether cultural specificity in spatial language and cognition is reflected in thinking about time. In the Mayan language Tzeltal, spatial language relies heavily on an absolute frame of reference utilizing the overall slope of the land, distinguishing an "uphill/downhill" axis oriented from south to north, and an orthogonal "crossways" axis (sunrise-set) on the basis of which objects at all scales are located. Does this absolute system for calculating spatial relations carry over into construals of temporal relations? This question was explored in a study where Tzeltal consultants produced temporal expressions and performed two different non-linguistic temporal ordering tasks. The results show that at least five distinct schemata for conceptualizing time underlie Tzeltal linguistic expressions: (i) deictic ego-centered time, (ii) time as an ordered sequence (e.g., "first"/"later"), (iii) cyclic time (times of the day, seasons), (iv) time as spatial extension or location (e.g., "entering/exiting July"), and (v) a time vector extending uphillwards into the future. The non-linguistic task results showed that the "time moves uphillwards" metaphor, based on the absolute frame of reference prevalent in Tzeltal spatial language and thinking and important as well in the linguistic expressions for time, is not strongly reflected in responses on these tasks. It is argued that systematic and consistent use of spatial language in an absolute frame of reference does not necessarily transfer to consistent absolute time conceptualization in non-linguistic tasks; time appears to be more open to alternative construals.
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Linguists have noted that 2 distinct movement perspectives are implicit in English temporal expressions: a 1st in which events are stationary relative to a moving observer (the moving-ego perspective) and a 2nd in which events move relative to a stationary observer (the moving-time perspective). Two experiments are reported that investigated the role of these perspectives in temporal language comprehension. Experiment 1 used a paradigm in which the comprehension of a target temporal sentence could potentially be facilitated or disrupted by the perspective implied by prior context. In Experiment 2, prior context was manipulated in a similar fashion in an effort to influence participants’ interpretations of ostensibly ambiguous temporal statements. The results of both experiments suggest that people do use perspective information when they encounter moving-ego and moving-time temporal sentences in discourse.
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Tripartite systems are currently common to several theories concerned with distinguishing different spatial frames of reference (Levinson, 1996, 2003; Levelt, 1996; Tversky, 1996). The notion that such a 3-part spatial model (e.g. intrinsic, deictic, extrinsic) can be extended to temporal models is at least theoretically plausible (Levinson, 2003). The current study reviews three basic spatial frame of reference types. Then, the results of recent empirical work investigating temporal metaphor is reviewed and applied to a theoretical temporal frame of reference model. Lastly, the concept of an extrinsic temporal frame of reference is introduced and supported by several experiments.
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The study of conceptual mappings, including metaphoric mappings, has produced great insights over the last several decades, not only for the study of language, but also for the study of such subjects as scientific discovery, design, mathematical thinking, and computer interfaces. This tradition of inquiry is fulfilling its promises, with new findings and new applications all the time. Looking for conceptual mappings and their properties proves to be a rich method for discovery. To the initial studies that focused on cross-domain mappings and their most visible products have now been added many additional dimensions. Detailed studies have been carried out on topics such as compression, integration networks, and the principles and constraints that govern them. This blooming field of research has as one consequence the rethinking of metaphor. We have a richer and deeper understanding of the processes underlying metaphor than we did previously. In this article, we will illustrate the central areas of theoretical advance by looking in some detail at the metaphor of TIME AS SPACE.
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Cognitive scientists were induced by the (European) cultures and (Indogermanic) languages already known to them to formulate over-hasty generalizations about the intrinsic structure of human thinking. They believe, for example, that it is natural and consequently universal to view the space around us from a relative, egocentric and anthropomorphic point of view. However, this way of seeing the world-with one's body at the centre of the universe from which spatial co-ordinates radiate out-is just one of the possible ways of viewing space, as the cultural conception of spatial order among the Yupno of Papua New Guinea illustrates.
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This book has been thoroughly revised to include important new results. At the same time it retains the features that make it a classic text on irreversibility, and one which clearly distinguishes the latter from those time asymmetries which may be compensated for by other asymmetries. The book investigates irreversible phenomena in classical, quantum and cosmological settings. In particular, this fourth edition contains a revised treatment of radiation damping as well as extended sections on dynamical maps, quantum entanglement and decoherence, arrows of time hidden in various interpretations of quantum theory, and the emergence of time in quantum gravity. Both physicists and philosophers of science who reviewed earlier editions considered this book a magnificent survey, a concise, technically sophisticated, up-to-date discussion of the subject, showing fine sensitivity to crucial conceptual subtleties.
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Do English speakers think about time the way they talk about it? In spoken English, time appears to flow along the sagittal axis (front/back): the future is ahead and the past is behind us. Here we show that when asked to gesture about past and future events deliberately, English speakers often use the sagittal axis, as language suggests they should. By contrast, when producing co-speech gestures spontaneously, they use the lateral axis (left/right) overwhelmingly more often, gesturing leftward for earlier times and rightward for later times. This left-right mapping of time is consistent with the flow of time on calendars and graphs in English-speaking cultures, but is completely absent from conventional spoken metaphors. English speakers gesture on the lateral axis even when they are using front/back metaphors in their co-occurring speech. This speech-gesture dissociation is not due to any lack of lexical or constructional resources to spatialize time laterally in language, nor to any lack of physical resources to spatialize time sagittally in gesture. We propose that when speakers are describing sequences of events, they often use neither the Moving Ego nor Moving Time perspectives. Rather, they adopt a “Moving Attention” perspective, which is grounded in patterns of interaction with cultural artifacts, not in patterns of interaction with the natural environment. We suggest possible pragmatic, kinematic, and mnemonic motivations for the use of a lateral mental timeline in gesture and in thought. Gestures reveal an implicit spatial conceptualization of time that cannot be inferred from language.
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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 integrates a range of previously underexplored complexities with respect to spatial language used in both static and dynamic settings, as well as aspects peculiar to time. The framework, which is based on English, allows for identifying and accounting for the relationship between spatial and temporal concepts systematically. Furthermore, it highlights the distinction between conceptually similar (spatial and temporal) structures reflected in language on the one hand, and metaphorical transfer of clearly spatially based concepts on the other.
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How does space come to be used to represent nonspatial relations, as in graphs? Approximately 1200 children and adults from three language cultures, English, Hebrew, and Arabic, produced graphic representations of spatial, temporal, quantitative, and preference relations. Children placed stickers on square pieces of paper to represent, for example, a disliked food, a liked food, and a favorite food. Two major analyses of these data were performed. The analysis of directionality of the represented relation showed effects of direction of written language only for representations of temporal concepts, where left-to-right was dominant for speakers of English and right-to-left for speakers of Arabic, with Hebrew speakers in between. For quantity and preference, all canonical directions except top-to-bottom were used approximately equally by all cultures and ages. The analysis of information represented in the graphic representations showed an age trend; more of the older children represented ordinal and some interval information in their mappings. There was a small effect of abstractness of concept on information represented, with more interval information represented by children for the more concrete concepts, space, time, quantity, and preference in that order. Directionality findings were related to language-specific left-to-right or right-to-left directionality and to universal association of more or better with upward. The difficulties in externally representing interval information were related to prevalent difficulties in expressing comparative information. Children's graphic productions were compared to other invented notation systems, by children and by cultures, particularly for numbers and language.
Article
Humans have cognitive mechanisms that allow them to keep track of time, represent past events, and simulate the future, but these capacities have intrinsic constraints. Here, we explore the role of material culture as an extension of internal time representations through anthropological and archeological case studies, focusing on Upper Paleolithic material culture. We argue that calendars complement and extend internal time representations, because they enable humans to project past events into the future more accurately than is possible with episodic memory alone, making them one of the factors that significantly improved foraging success during the Upper Paleolithic. We discuss the implications of the epistemic use of material culture for our understanding of the causes of shifts in human behavior during the Upper Paleolithic.
Article
Boyd Davis’s work concerns representation, principally visual and spatial. This article discusses mapping historical time to a graphical surface, such as in timelines, focusing on the orientation of the time axis. Boyd Davis gained a £92K EPSRC grant to develop these inquiries into digital formats in 2012, and £70K from the Leverhulme Trust ending in 2010. It contrasts the paucity of intellectual debate on mapping time with the controversies over competing geographic projections, a dearth that Boyd Davis’s work is dedicated to correcting. The article proposes a research agenda derived from a synthesis of the literatures of cognitive science and gesture studies, revealing that the metaphorical direction of time differs between verbal and gestural usage, and to a lesser extent between cultures. It features original archive research into the emergence of modern chronographics in the mid-18th century, a shift from typographic, tabular layouts to truly graphical time-maps based on a changing model of time spawned by Descartes and Newton. Research into the timelines of Nicole Oresme (1350s) and Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg and Joseph Priestley (1750s) reveals their difficulties in finding the ‘right’ direction for time. Related work included a co-written paper for ‘Electronic Visualisation and the Arts’, London (2010), selected for the 2013 Springer book of best full papers (21 of c.160); a paper for the 26th ‘Computers and the History of Art’, London (2010); experimental work using virtual environments to represent historic time, a Leverhulme project co-led by Boyd Davis: two co-written articles for Computers & Education (2012); a chapter in Huang (ed.), Handbook of Human Centric Visualization (2013); a guest article for Joseph Priestley House Museum, PA, USA (2011); an invited talk on original research into French 18th-century contributions to chronographics, Centre de Recherches Texte/Image/Langage, Universite de Bourgogne (2012); and a paper for ‘EVA2013’, London (2013).
Article
The Matses language of the Panoan family, spoken in Amazonian Peru and Brazil, has one of the most intricate evidential systems ever described, requiring speakers to precisely and explicitly code their source of information every time they report a past event. In a typologically unique inflectional configuration that I call DOUBLE TENSE the speakers specify both (i) how long ago an inferred event happened and (ii) how long ago the evidence upon which the inference was made was encountered. This article explores in detail the Matses evidential system, focusing on several novel patterns relevant to the typological study of evidentiality and providing social and historical perspectives.* 1. INTRODUCTION. Matses, a Panoan language spoken in Amazonian Peru and Brazil, has an obligatory and uncommonly elaborate system for morphologically coding source of information. The most notable characteristic of Matses evidentiality, which marks three evidential distinctions (direct experience, inference, and conjecture), is the intricate association with a likewise elaborate tense systemthat distinguishes three past tenses (recent, distant, and remote). All evidential markers are portmanteau verbal inflectional suffixes that simultaneously mark evidentiality and tense. This association results in tense having a significant influence on the use of evidentials in Matses. Among the most interesting effects is a construction that I call DOUBLE TENSE, whereby when the source of information is inferred from resulting evidence, two temporal distances must be specified on the verb: the length of time from the moment when the event itself took place to the moment when the evidence was detected; and the time from the detection of the evidence to the moment of the verbal report. The examples in 1 and Figure 1 illustrate this typologically unique construction, which is explained
Chapter
There will probably be general assent to the proposition that an accepted s of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.pattern of using words is often prior to certain lines of thinking and forms of behavior, but he who assents often sees in such a statement nothing more than a platitudinous recognition of the hypnotic power of philosophical and learned terminology on the one hand or of catchwords, slogans, and rallying cries on the other. To see only thus far is to miss the point of one of the important interconnections which Sapir saw between language, culture, and psychology, and succinctly expressed in the introductory quotation. It is not so much in these special uses of language as in its constant ways of arranging data and its most ordinary everyday analysis of phenomena that we need to recognize the influence it has on other activities, cultural and personal.
Article
This article examines the primacy of real-world bodily experience for understanding the human mind. I defend the idea that the peculiarities of the living human brain and body, and the bodily experiences they sustain, are essential ingredients of human sense-making and conceptual systems. Conceptual systems are created, brought forth, understood and sustained, through very specific cognitive mechanisms ultimately grounded in bodily experience. They don't have a transcendental abstract logic independent of the species-specific bodily features. To defend this position, I focus on a case study: the fundamental concept of time flow. Using tools of cognitive linguistics, I analyse the foundations of this concept, as it is manifested naturally in everyday language. I show that there is a precise conceptual metaphor (mapping) whose inferential structure gives an account of a huge variety of linguistic expressions, semantic contents, and unconscious spontaneous gestures: Time Events Are Things In Space. I discuss various special cases of this conceptual metaphor. This mapping grounds its source domain (space) in specific spatial bodily experiences and projects its inferential structure onto a target domain (time) making inferences in that domain possible. This mechanism allows us to unconsciously, effortlessly, and precisely understand (and make inferences with) expressions such as ‘the year 2000 is approaching’ or ‘the days ahead of us’. The general form of the mapping seems to be universal. The analysis raises important issues which demand a deeper and richer understanding of cognition and the mind: a view that sees the mind as fully embodied. In order to avoid misunderstandings with a general (and somewhat vague) notion of ‘embodiment’ which has become fashionable in contemporary cognitive science, I describe what I mean by ‘full embodiment’: an embodied-oriented approach that has an explicit commitment to all of cognition, not just to low-level aspects of cognition such as sensory-motor activity or locomotion (lower levels of commitment). I take embodiment to be a living phenomenon in which the primacy of bodily grounded experience (e.g., motion, intention, emotion) is inherently part of the very subject matter of the study of the mind.
Article
Talk about time is commonly accompanied by co-speech gesture. Though much recent work has looked at how time is construed as space in the languages of the world, few studies have examined temporal gestures in any detail. Our focus is on a particular pattern among American English speakers — transversal temporal gestures — in which time is conceptualized as moving from left to right across the body. Based on numerous examples elicited in a controlled observational paradigm, we suggest a classification of American English speakers' transversal temporal gestures into five types — placing, pointing, duration-marking, bridging, and animating — and provide examples of each type. Discussion focuses on the following three topics: the usefulness of quasi-experimental approaches for the study of gesture; variation in temporal gestures across cultures; and how temporal gestures fit into a broader understanding of metaphorical gestures.
Article
In humans, hippocampal activity responds to the imagining of past or future events. In rats, hippocampal activity is tied to particular locations in a maze, occurs after the animal has been in the maze, and sometimes corresponds to locations the animal did not actually visit. This suggests that mental time travel has neurophysiological underpinnings that go far back in evolution, and may not be, as some (including myself) have claimed, unique to humans.
Article
Few intellectual problems are as intriguing or as difficult as understanding the nature of time. In "About Time," William Friedman provides a new integrated look at research on the psychological processes that underlie the human experience of time. He explains what psychologists have discovered about temporal perception and cognition since the publication of Paul Fraisse's "The Psychology of Time" in 1963 and offers fresh interpretations of their findings. In particular he shows that the experience of time depends on many different psychological processes and that it is essential to divide temporal experience into component categories in order to understand these processes. In chapters on perception and memory, Friedman discusses our impressions about the rate of time's passage and our ability to localize memories in time. He takes up representation and orientation, our ability to build mental representations of the time structures that surround us and to view these patterns from the unique perspective of the present moment. Moreover he shows that we can learn a great deal about the psychological basis of temporal experience by studying the development of this knowledge in children and the way in which views of time vary by culture, personality type, and kind of psychopathology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Discusses man's capabilities and limitations as an element in a closed loop control system under normal environmental conditions. Factors considered include the nature of manual control, modes of tracking, mathematical models of human operators, and characteristics of controls and displays in tracking tasks. (21/2 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A book describing "the different ways in which man adapts to the temporal conditions of his existence." Sections are devoted to conditioning to time, the perception of time, and control over time. Views of philosophers and early experimental psychologists are represented as well as those based on recent experiments. (567 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This article analyzes temporal frames of reference that are metaphorically related to experiences of movement and location. Two path-configured temporal frames of reference are distinguished, both of which employ a metaphorical FRONT/BEHIND contrast: field-based (perspective neutral) and ego-perspective (perspective specific). Claims are illustrated with data from Wolof (Niger-Congo, West Africa), Japanese, and Aymara (Jaqi, South America). The paper focuses on a field-based analysis (akin to absolute) of deictically neutral uses of FRONT/BEHIND terms, and defends it against a possible analysis as intrinsic. FRONT in the field-based frame of reference maps onto 'earlier', and BEHIND maps onto 'later'. The ego-perspective frame of reference has the opposite orientation so that FRONT maps onto 'future' and BEHIND maps onto 'past'. Both of these patterns seem to be crosslinguistically typical. However, there is one well-documented case of ego facing the past –– that of Aymara. I argue that in the Aymara system, ego's orientation is aligned with that of a field-based frame of reference: in Aymara the past is metaphorically in front of ego because it is a special case of earlier times being metaphorically in front of later times.
Article
Most research on metaphors that construe time as motion (motion meta-phors of time) has focused on the question of whether it is the times or the person experiencing them (ego) that moves. This paper focuses on the equally important distinction between metaphors that locate times relative to ego (the ego-based metaphors Moving Ego and Moving Time) and a metaphor that locates times relative to other times (SEQUENCE IS RELATIVE POSITION ON A PATH). Rather than a single abstract target domain TIME, these two kinds of temporal metaphor metaphorize di¤erent kinds of tem-poral concept—perspective-specific vs. perspective-neutral temporal con-cepts. Recognition of this distinction enhances the explanatory potential of conceptual metaphor theory (Lako¤ and Johnson 1980). An example in-volves the interaction of deixis and the temporal reference crosslinguisti-cally of vocabulary with the spatial meanings IN-FRONT and BEHIND. More generally, this approach refines our ability to describe the temporal con-cepts involved in motion metaphors of time. Such temporal concepts are present not only in the target domains, but also in the source domains of motion metaphors of time, where we find space-to-time metonymy, which may play a role in motivating the metaphors. In order to distinguish such metonymy from metaphor, we need to characterize metaphor as a mapping across frames rather than domains.
Article
Do the languages we speak shape the ways we think? Boroditsky, (2001) demonstrated that speakers of English and Mandarin think differently about time. This work has recently been brought into question (January & Kako, 2007; Chen, 2007). Here I present new evidence that again demonstrates a difference between English and Mandarin speakers' construals of time. Both languages use horizontal and vertical spatial language to talk about time. For example, in English we might say that the best is ahead of us, or we may move a meeting up. In English, vertical metaphors are relatively infrequent and horizontal metaphors predominate. In Mandarin, both horizontal and vertical metaphors are frequent. Importantly, vertical metaphors are much more frequent in Mandarin than they are in English. The new evidence once again suggests that Mandarin speakers don't just talk about time vertically more frequently than do English speakers, they also think about time vertically more frequently than do English speakers.