Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (3):499-535 (2011)

Abstract
Depictive expressions of thought predate written language by thousands of years. They have evolved in communities through a kind of informal user testing that has refined them. Analyzing common visual communications reveals consistencies that illuminate how people think as well as guide design; the process can be brought into the laboratory and accelerated. Like language, visual communications abstract and schematize; unlike language, they use properties of the page (e.g., proximity and place: center, horizontal/up–down, vertical/left–right) and the marks on it (e.g., dots, lines, arrows, boxes, blobs, likenesses, symbols) to convey meanings. The visual expressions of these meanings (e.g., individual, category, order, relation, correspondence, continuum, hierarchy) have analogs in language, gesture, and especially in the patterns that are created when people design the world around them, arranging things into piles and rows and hierarchies and arrays, spatial-abstraction-action interconnections termed spractions. The designed world is a diagram
Keywords Diagrams  Metaphor  Action  Visual communication  Gesture  Spatial cognition  Analogy
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DOI 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2010.01113.x
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References found in this work BETA

Metaphors We Live By.George Lakoff & Mark Johnson - 1980 - University of Chicago Press.
The Number Sense: How the Mind Creates Mathematics.Stanislas Dehaene - 1999 - British Journal of Educational Studies 47 (2):201-203.

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Self‐Representation and Perspectives in Dreams.Melanie Rosen & John Sutton - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (11):1041-1053.
Diagrams as Tools for Scientific Reasoning.Adele Abrahamsen & William Bechtel - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (1):117-131.
Introduction: Varieties of Iconicity.Valeria Giardino & Gabriel Greenberg - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (1):1-25.

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