Selecting a reference frame

Selecting a reference frame Reference frames are representations that parse space. In the case of spatial terms, reference frames mediate the mapping of linguistic expressions onto spatial configurations of objects. In the sentence ``The fly is above the cat,'' ``above'' is defined with respect to a reference frame that is imposed on the cat. Different types of reference frames can be used to define spatial terms, each based on a different source of information. For example, gravity, the orientation of objects in the scene or the orientation of the viewer can all be used to set the orientation of a reference frame. When these reference frames disagree (because the viewer is reclining or because the objects in the scene are overturned), there are competing definitions for the spatial term, resulting in the need for reference frame selection. The purpose of this paper is to review a line of research that examines reference frame selection in the context of spatial language. This work shows that all reference frames are initially active and assign a direction to a spatial term. Moreover, this activation is automatic, and is followed by the selection of a single reference frame, with selection accompanied by inhibition of the non-selected frames. Parallels between reference frame selection in language and in perception and attention are discussed. Spatial Cognition and Computation Springer Journals

Selecting a reference frame

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Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright © 1999 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Psychology; Cognitive Psychology
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