Topics in Cognitive Science 9 (3):800-818 (2017)

What is the role of language in constructing knowledge? In this article, we ask whether learning new relational language can create new ways of thinking. In Experiment 1, we taught English speakers to talk about time using new vertical linguistic metaphors, saying things like “breakfast is above dinner” or “breakfast is below dinner”. In Experiment 2, rather than teaching people new metaphors, we relied on the left–right representations of time that our American college student participants have already internalized through a lifetime of visuospatial experience reading and writing text from left to right. In both experiments, we asked whether the representations are susceptible to verbal interference. We found that learning new metaphors created new space–time associations that could be detected in a nonlinguistic implicit association task; these newly learned representations were not susceptible to verbal interference; and with respect to both verbal and visual interference, representations newly learned from linguistic metaphor behaved just like those on the left–right axis that our participants had acquired through years of visuospatial experience. Taken together, these results suggest that learning new relational language can be a powerful tool in constructing new representations and expanding our cognitive repertoire.
Keywords Metaphor  Nonlinguistic  Relational language  Representation  Space  Time
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/tops.12279
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 68,908
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Metaphors We Live By.Max Black - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 40 (2):208-210.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Wheel of Time.Heng Li & Yu Cao - 2019 - Pragmatics and Cognition 26 (2-3):197-214.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Active Perception and the Representation of Space.Mohan Matthen - 2014 - In Dustin Stokes, Mohan Matthen & Stephen Biggs (eds.), Perception and Its Modalities. Oxford University Press. pp. 44-72.
Three Kinds of Rationalism and the Non-Spatiality of Things in Themselves.Desmond Hogan - 2009 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (3):pp. 355-382.
Raumwissenschaften.Stephan Günzel (ed.) - 2009 - Suhrkamp.
Metaphor.Marga Reimer & Elisabeth Camp - 2006 - In Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 845.
Language, Speakers, and Metaphor.James Allman - 1998 - Dissertation, Duke University
Space Metaphor as a Signifying Force in Chan Poems.Ming-Yu Tseng - 2007 - American Journal of Semiotics 23 (1/4):221-241.


Added to PP index

Total views
36 ( #313,258 of 2,497,755 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #283,405 of 2,497,755 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes