Preparation of this paper was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Air Force Systems Command, USAF, under grant or cooperative agreement numbers, AFOSR 94-0220. This paper is an extension of ideas first discussed in a target article and replies to commentary that appeared in the electronic journal PSYCOLOQY. I would like to thank Gordon Bower, Bruce Bridgeman, Claudia Brugman, Rhea Eskew, Nancy Franklin, Arthur Glenberg, Stevan Harnad, Ray Jackendoff, Barbara Landau, Daniel Montello, Clark Presson, Adam Reeves, Beth Roepnack, Roger Shepard, Shari Speer, Leonard Talmy, Barbara Tversky, Boris Velichkovsky, and two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments and suggestions on various versions of this paper.
Representing Space in Language and Perception
Article first published online: 4 MAY 2007
Mind & Language
Volume 12, Issue 3-4, pages 239–264, September 1997
How to Cite
BRYANT, D. J. (1997), Representing Space in Language and Perception. Mind & Language, 12: 239–264. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0017.1997.tb00073.x
- Issue published online: 4 MAY 2007
- Article first published online: 4 MAY 2007
Abstract: Space can be understood through perception and language, but are the processes that represent spatial information the same in both cases? This paper reviews psychological evidence for the functional equivalence of spatial representations based on perceptual and linguistic inputs. It is proposed that spatial information is processed by a specialised spatial representation system (SRS) that creates geometric representations of space. The SRS receives inputs from perceptual and linguistic systems and uses these basic inputs to construct mental spatial models of the observed or described environment. A mental spatial model is created by determining the coordinate locations of objects in the egocentric or allocentric frame of reference. The goal of the SRS is not to represent strictly what is perceived, but to model an environment that has an inherent three-dimensional spatial structure.