Space and Time in the Child’s Mind: Evidence for a Cross-Dimensional Asymmetry

Cognitive Science, Vol. 34, pp. 387-405, 2010

19 Pages Posted: 3 May 2010

See all articles by Daniel Casasanto

Daniel Casasanto

The New School for Social Research

Olga Fotakopoulou

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki - School of Psychology

Lera Boroditsky

Stanford University - Department of Psychology

Date Written: April 1, 2010

Abstract

What is the relationship between space and time in the human mind? Studies in adults show an asymmetric relationship between mental representations of these basic dimensions of experience: representations of time depend on space more than representations of space depend on time. Here we investigated the relationship between space and time in the developing mind. Native Greek-speaking children watched movies of two animals traveling along parallel paths for different distances or durations and judged the spatial and temporal aspects of these events (e.g., Which animal went for a longer distance, or a longer time?) Results showed a reliable cross-dimensional asymmetry. For the same stimuli, spatial information influenced temporal judgments more than temporal information influenced spatial judgments. This pattern was robust to variations in the age of the participants and the type of linguistic framing used to elicit responses. This finding demonstrates a continuity between space-time representations in children and adults, and informs theories of analog magnitude representation.

Keywords: ATO, Conceptual development, Greek, Metaphor, Space, Time

Suggested Citation

Casasanto, Daniel and Fotakopoulou, Olga and Boroditsky, Lera, Space and Time in the Child’s Mind: Evidence for a Cross-Dimensional Asymmetry (April 1, 2010). Cognitive Science, Vol. 34, pp. 387-405, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1598488

Daniel Casasanto (Contact Author)

The New School for Social Research ( email )

6 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.casasanto.com

Olga Fotakopoulou

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki - School of Psychology

Thessaloniki
Greece

Lera Boroditsky

Stanford University - Department of Psychology ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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