Mechanisms of Reference Frame Selection in Spatial Term Use: Computational and Empirical Studies

Cognitive Science 41 (2):276-325 (2017)

Authors
Laura Carlson
Stockholm University
Abstract
Previous studies have shown that multiple reference frames are available and compete for selection during the use of spatial terms such as “above.” However, the mechanisms that underlie the selection process are poorly understood. In the current paper we present two experiments and a comparison of three computational models of selection to shed further light on the nature of reference frame selection. The three models are drawn from different areas of human cognition, and we assess whether they may be applied to a reference frame selection by examining their ability to account for both existing and new empirical data comprising acceptance rates, response times, and response time distributions. These three models are the competitive shunting model, the leaky competing accumulator model, and a lexical selection model. Model simulations show that only the LCA model satisfactorily accounts for the empirical observations. The key properties of this model that seem to drive its success are its bounded linear activation function, its number and type of processing stages, and its use of decay. Uncovering these critical properties has important implications for our understanding not only of spatial term use, in particular, but also of conflict and selection in human cognition more generally.
Keywords Spatial term use  Computational cognitive modeling  Conflict and selection  Spatial reference frames
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DOI 10.1111/cogs.12327
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Studies of Interference in Serial Verbal Reactions.J. R. Stroop - 1935 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 18 (6):643.
Task Switching.Stephen Monsell - 2003 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (3):134-140.

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