Spatial descriptions frequently contain ambiguities because they can be interpreted using more than one reference frame. How do people handle such ambiguities? Previous work suggests either serial choice of reference frames or multiple activation of available frames. While behavioral evidence shows mixed support for these positions, a technique of cognitive neuroscience may provide additional insight. The present research examined spatial description processing using an electrophysiological measure, event-related potentials (ERPs). ERP's fine-grained temporal resolution allows examination of cognitive processes as they unfold. A second behavioral study provides comparison results. This initial study indicated that spatial description comprehension relates to semantic integration. Given this interpretation, data also suggested multiple frame activation with then primary selection of the intrinsic reference frame. Results are discussed in a framework of comparing methodological techniques.
Spatial Cognition and Computation – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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