Tilburg center for Cognition and Communication (TiCC)

We study how people communicate with each other and how computer systems can be taught to communicate with us.


TiCC Colloquium: Alexandra Carstensen

What: Universals and variation in spatial language and thought
Where: DZ 6
When: Wednesday, 27 September 2017, 12:45 - 13:45 hours


Why do languages parcel human experience into categories in the ways they do? And to what extent do these categories in language shape our view of the world? In this talk, I'll evaluate the role of cognitive universals and linguistic relativity in spatial reasoning and explore the mechanisms underlying contributions from each. This research draws on semantic typology, nonlinguistic behavioral experiments, and simulated language evolution in the lab, finding convergent evidence in support of a set of universal features of spatial cognition that may be somewhat adjusted by language. I will argue that strong universal pressures constrain variation in spatial cognition across languages, and that the semantic structure of language in turn shapes nonlinguistic cognition, but not always in the way we might imagine.

When: 27 September 2017 12:45

End date: 27 September 2017 13:45