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The Mental Timeline During the Processing of Linguistic Information

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Abstract

There is ample evidence that people use spatial concepts to think and speakabout time. Consistent with this notion, recent reaction time experimentshave documented that the spatial coordinates of responses influence speededdecisions regarding temporal information. Specifically, classifying temporal linguisticinformation produces a space-time congruency effect on reaction timewhen responses with the left and right hand are arranged on the left-right axis.A similar effect can be observed for responses that consist of movements alongthe back-front axis. These findings are consistent with the view that time runsfrom left to right or from back to front. In the present article we review theseresults and assess the linguistic relevance of these two mental timelines for thecomprehension of linguistic information at the word and sentence level.

References

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