The Cultural Transmission of Spatial Cognition: Evidence from a Large-scale Study

Jürgen Bohnemeyer, Katharine T. Donelson, Randi E. Tucker, Elena Benedicto, Alejandra Capistrán Garza, Alyson Eggleston, Néstor Hernández Green, María de Jesús Selene Hernández Gómez, Samuel Herrera Castro, Carolyn K. O'Meara, Enrique Palancar, Gabriela Pérez Báez, Gilles Polian, Rodrigo Romero Méndez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present the results of two studies of the use of spatial reference frames in speakers of 11 linguistic varieties. A series of mixed-models linear regression analyses of the responses to a referential communication task shows the significant factors in predicting frame use to be the participants' first and second-language, their literacy, the local topography and population density. This suggests that language can play an irreducible role in the transmission of practices of spatial reference and that such practices may be diffused through language contact. However, in a recall memory experiment, only speakers of varieties with an egocentric linguistic bias preferred egocentric responses. Both speakers of languages with a geocentric bias and speakers of varieties without a clear bias preferred geocentric responses. This unexpected finding is in line with a hypothetical mild innate pan-simian bias for geocentric cognition, which can be superseded by a learned egocentric bias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2014
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Pages212-217
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780991196708
StatePublished - 2014
Event36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2014 - Quebec City, Canada
Duration: Jul 23 2014Jul 26 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2014

Conference

Conference36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2014
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityQuebec City
Period7/23/147/26/14

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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