Can I reach ‘this’? Or is ‘that’ too far? Exploring the relationship between language and spatial perception

Caldano, Michela (2020) Can I reach ‘this’? Or is ‘that’ too far? Exploring the relationship between language and spatial perception. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis examines the relationship between space perception and spatial language. The work presented focuses on the use of demonstratives (‘this’ and ‘that’) and prepositions in healthy participants and right-brain stroke patients in English and Italian.

In the first series of experiments, the mapping between demonstratives and perceptual space across sagittal and lateral planes in left-handed and right-handed participants is analysed. Using an adapted version of the ‘memory game procedure’, in three experiments we manipulated object locations, hands used to point, the handedness of the participant and tool use, to elicit the production of demonstratives. The results support a strong mapping between demonstratives and reachability of objects; the use of 'this' increases when the hand used to point could reach the object compared to when the object is not reachable but placed in the same location. No effect of handedness was found.]

In the second set of experiments, we analysed the use of demonstratives for images of objects or real objects. A large PC screen table was used to show the 2D images of the objects and to place the 3D objects at different sagittal distances. Results showed no difference in the use of demonstrative for type of objects, a main effect of distance was registered congruent with previous literature.

In the third, and last, set of experiments the use of Italian demonstratives and prepositions were tested in healthy participants and right-brain stroke patients. A strong effect of distance for the use of demonstratives was found in Italian, congruent with the results found in English. Stroke patients showed no deficit in the use of demonstratives, although impairments in the use of prepositions were found.

The work presented in this thesis shows a strong mapping of space perception and demonstratives use in English and Italian. In addition, to our knowledge, this is the first time that the use of demonstratives has been tested in stroke patients. The results presented have implications for spatial language theories, embodied cognition and patients' rehabilitation, widening the literature about space perception and demonstratives use in healthy participants and stroke patients.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2021 12:51
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2021 12:51


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