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How We Reason$
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Philip Johnson-Laird

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199551330

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199551330.001.0001

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Icons and Images

Icons and Images

Chapter:
(p.21) Chapter 2 Icons and Images
Source:
How We Reason
Author(s):

Philip N. Johnson-Laird

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199551330.003.0002

This chapter explains how to make spatial inferences. It is suggested that human beings can construct internal representations of spatial layouts, and these representations are referred to as mental models of spatial layouts. A mental model is iconic, that is, its parts and the relations among them correspond to the parts of the layout and the relations among them. In contrast, the logical form of a sentence is not iconic, because its structure is remote from the structure of the situation it describes. A spatial model, however, is an icon of what it represents. In addition, three psychological experiments are discussed that support the claim that the brain could use an underlying three-dimensional mental model of an object to construct a two-dimensional image of its appearance from a particular point of view. The chapter also considers whether reasoning depends on images or models.

Keywords:   mental models, spatial layouts, icons, images, spatial model, reasoning

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