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Representing Direction in Language and Space$
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Emile van der Zee and Jon Slack

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199260195

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199260195.001.0001

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Axes and Direction in Spatial Language and Spatial Cognition

Axes and Direction in Spatial Language and Spatial Cognition

(p.18) 2 Axes and Direction in Spatial Language and Spatial Cognition
Representing Direction in Language and Space


Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that axial representations are engaged in both linguistic and non-linguistic tasks. Axial structure is required to account for performance in object location memory tasks, matching tasks, and spatial language tasks. Axial structure representations are independent of direction representation, as revealed by studies of normal adults and children, and spatially impaired adults and children. More specifically, evidence from spatial impairment suggests that direction may be a more fragile component of spatial representation than axial structure. The chapter concludes by arguing that in relation to spatial language, axial representations are more suitable for representing direction than vector-based representations.

Keywords:   spatial language, spatial cognition, axial representations, direction, linguistic tasks, non-linguistic tasks, spatial impairment, axis, space

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