Cognitive Science 37 (2):211-254 (2013)

Atsushi Shimojima
Doshisha University
Semantic studies on diagrammatic notations (Barwise & Etchemendy, ; Shimojima, ; Stenning & Lemon, ) have revealed that the “non-deductive,” “emergent,” or “perceptual” effects of diagrams (Chandrasekaran, Kurup, Banerjee, Josephson, & Winkler, ; Kulpa, ; Larkin & Simon, ; Lindsay, ) are all rooted in the exploitation of spatial constraints on graphical structures. Thus, theoretically, this process is a key factor in inference with diagrams, explaining the frequently observed reduction of inferential load. The purpose of this study was to examine the empirical basis for this theoretical suggestion, focusing on the reality of the constraint-exploitation strategy in actual practices of diagrammatic reasoning. Eye movements were recorded while participants used simple position diagrams to solve three- or four-term transitive inference problems. Our experiments revealed that the participants could exploit spatial constraints on graphical structures even when (a) they were not in the position of actually manipulating diagrams, (b) the semantic rule for the provided diagrams did not match their preferences, and (c) the constraint-exploitation strategy invited a partly adverse effect. These findings indicate that the hypothesized process is in fact robust, with the potential to broadly account for the inferential advantage of diagrams
Keywords Eye‐tracking  External representation  Distributed cognition  Visual index  Diagrammatic reasoning  Mental image  Transitive inference
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DOI 10.1111/cogs.12026
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The Extended Mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.

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