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Reasoning about consistency with spatial mental models: Hidden and obvious indeterminacy in spatial descriptions

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83991

Jahn,  G
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84019

Knauff,  M
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Jahn, G., Johnson-Laird, P., & Knauff, M. (2005). Reasoning about consistency with spatial mental models: Hidden and obvious indeterminacy in spatial descriptions. In Spatial Cognition IV: Reasoning, Action, Interaction (pp. 165-180). Berlin, Germany: Springer.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-D61F-0
Abstract
The assessment of whether a statement is consistent with what has gone before is ubiquitous in discourse comprehension. One theory of the process is that individuals search for a mental model of a situation in which all the statements in the discourse are true. In the case of spatial descriptions, individuals should prefer to construct models, which retain the information in the description. Hence, they should use strategies that retain information in an efficient way. If the descriptions are consistent with multiple models then they are likely to run into difficulties. We report some preliminary results of experiments in which the participants judged the consistency of spatial descriptions. The participants made more errors when later assertions in the description conflicted with the preferred models of earlier assertions.