In the past several years, there has been an acceleration in the publication of cognitive research on the interplay between linguistic and pictorial/spatial information. To report on and encourage this sort of research, we organized a symposium at the 1991 meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association. The articles in this special section of Memory & Cognition are based on the work presented at the symposium. In this introduction, we offer a suggestion forwhy the integration of linguistic and spatial information is not only a possibility, but a requirement for effective communication. Our suggestion follows the linguistic analysis of the closed-class elements that convey spatial relations, the prepositions (Talmy, 1983). The structure of language provides but a small set of prepositions to encode the vast number of spatial relations that we can perceive. Thus, to understand a situation that a speaker or a writer is conveying, the listener or reader must combine linguistic information with (perhaps metric) spatial information derived from pictures, the environment, or memory.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)