Document Detail

Representing Spatial Structure Through Maps and Language: Lord of the Rings Encodes the Spatial Structure of Middle Earth.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23033971     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Spatial mental representations can be derived from linguistic and non-linguistic sources of information. This study tested whether these representations could be formed from statistical linguistic frequencies of city names, and to what extent participants differed in their performance when they estimated spatial locations from language or maps. In a computational linguistic study, we demonstrated that co-occurrences of cities in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit predicted the authentic longitude and latitude of those cities in Middle Earth. In a human study, we showed that human spatial estimates of the location of cities were very similar regardless of whether participants read Tolkien's texts or memorized a map of Middle Earth. However, text-based location estimates obtained from statistical linguistic frequencies better predicted the human text-based estimates than the human map-based estimates. These findings suggest that language encodes spatial structure of cities, and that human cognitive map representations can come from implicit statistical linguistic patterns, from explicit non-linguistic perceptual information, or from both.
Max M Louwerse; Nick Benesh
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-10-4
Journal Detail:
Title:  Cognitive science     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1551-6709     ISO Abbreviation:  Cogn Sci     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-4     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7708195     Medline TA:  Cogn Sci     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Department of Psychology, University of Memphis.
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