When thought overwhelms the mind, the mind uses the body and the world. Several studies reveal ways that people alone or together use gesture and marks on paper to structure and augment their thought for comprehension, inference, and discovery. The studies show that the mapping of thought to gesture or the page is more direct than the arbitrary mapping to language and suggest that these forms of visual/spatial/action representation are used to “translate” language into mental representations. It is argued that actions in space create patterns in the world that reflect abstractions, that the actions are incorporated into gestures and the patterns into diagrams, a network that integrates gesture, action, the designed world, and abstraction dubbed spraction.
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