View Full Version : Spatial Cognition Articles (Xpost)

H.j. Woltring, Fax/tel +31.40.413 744
05-25-1992, 05:23 PM
Date: 25 May 1992 22:20:36 -0400 (EDT)
From: Dennis Carmody
Subject: Spatial Cognition Articles
Sender: eyemov-redistribution@spcvxa.spc.edu

The following is an edited version of a posting from PSYCOLOQUY. Some
Biomch-L subscribers do receive PSYCHOLOQUY; in order to minimize
duplicate postings, kindly contact Steven Harnad if you wish the full
version of the posting.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Abbreviated Original Message~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Below are two announcements. One is a Call for Commentators on a target
article to appear in BBS, the other is a Call for Commentators on a
target article that has just appeared in BBS's electronic counterpart,
PSYCOLOQUY. The articles happen to be on the same topic (spatial
cognition) but the two Calls (and journals) are independent; please
respond to the calls separately.

(1) Landau & Jackendoff on Spatial Cognition in BBS

Below is the abstract of a forthcoming target article on spatial
cognition by Landau & Jackendoff. It has been accepted for publication
in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), an international,
interdisciplinary journal that provides Open Peer Commentary on
important and controversial current research in the biobehavioral and
cognitive sciences. Commentators must be current BBS Associates or
nominated by a current BBS Associate. To be considered as a commentator
on this article, to suggest other appropriate commentators, or for
information about how to become a BBS Associate, please send email to:

harnad@clarity.princeton.edu or harnad@pucc.bitnet or write to:
BBS, 20 Nassau Street, #240, Princeton NJ 08542 [tel: 609-921-7771]
__________________________________________________ _________________

"What" and "Where" in Spatial Language and Spatial Cognition

Barbara Landau
University of California, Irvine

Ray Jackendoff
Brandeis University

Fundamental to spatial knowledge in all species are the representations
underlying object recognition, object search, and navigation through
space. What sets humans apart from other species is our ability to
express spatial experience through language. In this target article, we
explore the language of objects and places, asking what geometric
properties are preserved in the representations underlying object nouns
and spatial prepositions in English. Evidence from these two aspects of
language suggests there are significant differences in the geometric richness
with which objects and places are encoded. When objects are named as
objects (i.e. with count nouns), detailed geometric properties of the
object -- principally its shape (axes, solid and hollow volumes,
surfaces, and parts) -- are represented. In contrast, when objects play
the role of either "figure" (located object) or "ground" (reference
object) in a locational expression, only very coarse geometric object
properties are represented, primarily the object's main axes. In
addition, the spatial functions encoded by spatial prepositions tend to
be nonmetric and relatively coarse, for example, "containment,"
"contact," "relative distance," and "relative direction." These
properties are representative of other languages as well. The striking
differences in the way that language encodes objects vs. places lead us
to suggest two explanations: First, a tendency for languages to level
out geometric detail from both object and place representations;
second, a nonlinguistic disparity between the representations of
"what" and "where" that underlies the representation of objects and
places in language. As a whole, the language of objects and places is
shown to converge with and enrich our understanding of the
corresponding spatial representations.

(2) Bryant on Spatial Representation in PSYCOLOQUY (electronic only)

The target article whose abstract appears below has just been published
in PSYCOLOQUY, BBS's electronic counterpart. It can be retrieved by
anonymous ftp from the same host and directory as described above;
its filename is: psyc.92.3.16.space.1.bryant
or by sending the following one-line message to listserv@pucc.bitnet or
to listserv@pucc.princeton.edu : get psyc 92-00049

Electronic commentary is now invited on this target article.
Please submit commentaries to:
psyc@pucc.bitnet or psyc@pucc.princeton.edu
psycoloquy.92.3.16.space.1.bryant Saturday May 23 1992
Copyright 1992 David J. Bryant
ISSN 1055-0143 (32 paragraphs, 48 references, 724 lines)


David J. Bryant
Department of Psychology 125 NI
Boston, MA 02115

0.0 ABSTRACT: This target article reviews evidence for the functional
equivalence of spatial representations of observed environments and
environments described in discourse. It is argued that people possess a
spatial representation system that constructs mental spatial models on
the basis of perceptual and linguistic information. Evidence for a
distinct spatial system is reviewed.


PSYCOLOQUY is a refereed electronic journal (ISSN 1044-0143) sponsored
on an experimental basis by the American Psychological Association
and currently estimated to reach a readership of 20,000. PSYCOLOQUY
publishes brief reports of ideas and findings on which the author
wishes to solicit rapid peer feedback, international and
interdisciplinary ("Scholarly Skywriting"), in all areas of psychology
and its related fields (biobehavioral, cognitive, neural, social, etc.)
All contributions are refereed by members of PSYCOLOQUY's Editorial Board.

Please submit all material to psyc@pucc.bitnet or