Spatial Schemas and Abstract Thought

Merideth Gattis
MIT Press, 2003 - 352 páginas

Humans and other animals depend on their ability to perceive and represent spatial aspects of the world. We learn spatial schemas by observing the locations and movements of objects (including people) and the configuration of our environment. This book explores the role these spatial schemas play in abstract, nonspatial tasks. Evidence suggests that we adapt spatial schemas for three basic purposes in abstract cognition: to structure memory, to structure communication, and to structure reasoning.

Are spatial schemas mere metaphors that help us to understand cognitive processes or are they actual internal mechanisms? Evidence for the latter suggests that the cognitive structures we develop to perceive, navigate, and remember space are the indispensable foundation of more abstract cognitive tasks. This book proposes the means by which spatial structures might be adapted for nonspatial purposes, and it considers alternatives to spatial coding as a basis for abstract thought.

The book is organized into three parts: the representation and use of space, spatial schemas in cultural contexts, and the kinds of computational and neurological structures that might be involved in abstract thought. The contributors include cognitive psychologists, developmental psychologists, linguists, anthropologists, and computer scientists.


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Página 159 - The spoon is to the left of the knife The plate is to the right of the spoon The fork is in front of the spoon The cup is in front of the knife This description is indeterminate in that it is consistent with at least two radically different arrangements.
Página 70 - ... doors' by some children; that is, "they found no inconsistency in seeing the lines as the panels on what would have been a pair of huge doors lying flat beside the minute blobs that they had previously identified correctly as being full-sized trees" (Spencer et al., 1980, p. 61). Thus, an ability to identify features in an aerial photograph may be present at an early age. Such achievements have even been reported for children from two years of age (Blaut & Stea 1971, p. 390; Ottosson 1987, p....
Página 340 - Schmidt is a professor in the department of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests are in human cognition, learning, and movement control.

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Merideth Gattis is Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sheffield, UK.

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