Psychology Program presents
Language and Space as Windows into the Mind
A lecture by Kevin Holmes, candidate for the position in Psychology
Thursday, February 20, 2014
A central goal in cognitive science is to understand how knowledge is organized in the human mind. My research explores the extent to which such conceptual organization reflects structure inherent in language and in the spatial world. In this talk, I will present two sets of experiments showing that linguistic and spatial structure align with the conceptual system in ways previously unrecognized. These experiments show (1) that semantic categories beyond the level of individual words pick out salient nonlinguistic concepts, and (2) that spatial representations support the mental organization of disparate forms of information about magnitude, or more/less relations. Together, the findings from these experiments highlight language and space as rich sources of insight into conceptual representations and their properties. I will discuss implications of this work for ongoing debates on the relation between language and thought and on the perceptual foundations of abstract thinking.
Location: Preston Theater
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