Publication details [#14215]

Shultheis, Holger and Laura A. Carlson. 2018. Inter-Process Relations in Spatial Language: Feedback and Graded Compatibility. Cognition 176 : 140–158. 19 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: Elsevier


Selection of reference frames and assignment of spatial terms are usually researched separately. However, both processes are involved in mapping spatial terms (for example “behind the glass”) to a spatial location (Logan & Sadler, 1996). Choosing a frame of reference cuts up a space into areas. Assignation of spatial terms assesses these areas and regulates how acceptable the term is for the layout. This research looked into how these two processes were related and how they interacted. The first research question was if data from assignation of spatial terms gives information to selection. The second question was if competition during the selection process functions at different degrees. These processes were simulated using four computational models. Every model has its own mixture of feedback (either having or not having feedback) and gradedness (which could be different degrees or all-or-nothing). The findings of this piece of research are in line with two essential ideas about how people use spatial terms. The first idea is choosing frames of reference and assigning spatial terms happen at the same time and also interact with each other. Assignation data gives information about and influences the process of selection. The second idea is that when different frames of reference are competing, gradedness is involved. How strong the competition is in choosing a frame of reference rises as the frames become less and less similar. These results show a fresh perspective on the factors included in the use of spatial terms and how they interact. This indicates that how graded competition is might be a key feature of conflict and selection in other cognitive realms.