Categorizing spatial entities with frontal orientation

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This chapter presents the results froma pointing task that examined French adult’s processing of Internal Localization Nouns (ILNs), with particular attention to <i>avant </i>(‘front’) and <i>devant </i>(‘front surface’). Performance in this task shows that the parameters governing the frontal orientation(s) implied by these markers (“static function”, “dynamic function”, “aerodynamicity” and “saliency”) can be ordered according to their importance during processing. It is then shown that each ILN favors a particular property: whereas <i>avant </i>is tightly linked to motion, the processing of <i>devant </i>is more sensitive to static function. Additional results based on a judgment task also throw some light on subjects’ behavior and strategies. In conclusion, we discuss the properties singled out and their potential role in the categorization of spatial entities.


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