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Cognitive Inheritance and Cultural Override in Human Spatial Cognition.

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons119

Majid,  Asifa
Language and Cognition Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons73

Haun,  Daniel B. M.
Language and Cognition Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons1173

Rapold,  Christian J.
Language and Cognition Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84

Janzen,  Gabriele
Neurobiology of Language Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons116

Levinson,  Stephen C.
Language and Cognition Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Majid, A., Haun, D. B. M., Rapold, C. J., Call, J., Janzen, G., & Levinson, S. C. (2008). Cognitive Inheritance and Cultural Override in Human Spatial Cognition. Talk presented at the 2008 AAAS Annual Meeting. 90-Minute Symposium. “Thinking with and without language”. Boston, MA. 2008-02-15.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-10A7-8
Abstract
Human languages differ in which spatial frame they habitually use. We survey these differences and present a study investigating whether this linguistic difference influences spatial cognition. We compared humans whose languages differ in their spatial relational frames with apes - Pongo, Gorilla, and Pan - on a nonlinguistic spatial task. The same spatial frame was used by all three great ape genera, as well as 4-year-olds in both languages. Older children and adults diverged, using the frame consistent with their language. This suggests that young humans share with apes an inherited primate basis for spatial frames, but that this preference can be overridden by language and culture in humans.