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Extra-Geometric Influences & Spatial Prepositions

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Luke Geraghty

on 25 October 2016

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Transcript of Extra-Geometric Influences & Spatial Prepositions

Towards a Classification of Extra-
geometric Influences on the Comprehension of Spatial Prepositions
Luke Geraghty
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
ABOUT THIS

PAPER

Overview of experiments on extra-geometric constraints on spatial prepositions.
Original experiment on "between" by paper authors.
Authors argue that extra-geometric influences are of two basic types, and structure their overview of other papers by these types.

THIS PAPER LOOKS AT...
EXTRA-GEOMETRIC CONSTRAINTS:
Influences which have
nothing to do with the geometry of the spatial relations
shown in visual scenes or situations.
"IN" AND "ON"
Dynamic-kinematic aspect study
THE "BETWEEN"
EXPERIMET
Participants presented with different arrangements of wooden blocks and spheres.
THOUGHTS?
FEELINGS?
THE AUTHORS ARGUE THAT:
These constraints are of
two types:
Dynamic-kinematic aspects of scenes, or what will happen to scenes over time e.g.
location control

- if one apple sits atop a pile of apples in a bowl, and that apple is shown as wobbling, a person might judge that the bowl has weak location control over that apple.
Knowledge of how objects work and how they normally interact in standard situations.
OVERVIEW:
SPATIAL

PREPOSITIONS

OVERVIEW:
CHANGING VIEWS
ON SPATIAL TERMS
PREVIOUSLY:
NOW:
Objects in the visual scene do not matter. Only the relative positions of objects determine the location of one object in reference to another.
What
objects are influences the descriptions of
where
those objects are.
PROJECTIVE PREPOSITIONS
"BETWEEN"
Spatial preposition expressions say where a
located object
is in relation to a
reference object.
"IN" AND "ON"
- Garrod et al. (1999)
Lower average rating when there was an alternative source of
location control
(the thin line here is actually a string).
P's had to
give a rating 1-5
on how appropriate were sentences like "The ball is
in
the bowl" or gave opinion about what would happen to i.e. location of black ping pong ball if bowl moved.
Showed participants pics of objects in containers or on surfaces (image below depicts bowl
filling with ping pong balls, a common occurrence in 20th century England).
Object knowledge study
"IN" AND "ON"
- Coventry et al. (1994)
(Still a dish... probably.)
Told sets of participants, unbeknownst to them, that
the same object
in a visual scene
was either a "dish" or a "plate".
Showed an object in direct contact with the dish/plate.
...And asked p's to rate the appropriateness of sentences with "in' and 'on' to describe the position of that object with the dish/plate.
"on" judged to be a more appropriate preposition for plates, "in" for dishes.
This is due to concavity. We have a conception of plates as supporting objects, whereas dishes are conceptualised as being better containers.
So prior knowledge about objects influences language use.
'There is a golden plaque under the painting"
plaque (located object)
painting (reference object)
PROJECTIVE PREPOSITIONS
Projective prepositions refer to a direction in space. "Over", "above", "under", "below".
In this paper, a picture was shown of a mail carrier holding a letter near a mailbox.
Dynamic-kinematic aspect study
- Carlson-Radvansky and Radvansky. (1994)
When his hand was outstretched (as if to post the letter), participants preferred
instrinsic descriptions
("The mail carrier is in front of the mailbox").
When he had his back to the mailbox,
extrinsic-relative
descriptions preferred ('The mail carrier is to the left of the mailbox').
Whether the located and reference object are in a position to interact with each other changes linguistic descriptions.
PROJECTIVE PREPOSITIONS
Same paper.
Authors also manipulated functional relations between objects.
- Carlson-Radvansky and Radvansky. (1994)
Object knowledge study
Compared functionally-related pairs of objects (mail carrier, mailbox) to pairs of unrelated objects (mail carrier, birdhouse).
Intrinsic reference frame produced significantly more for related objects ('The mail carrier is in front of the mail box') than unrelated.
Knowledge of the relations between objects and how they normally interact plays a role in the selection of reference frames.
A NOVEL EXPERIMENT WITH
"BETWEEN"

After presenting an overview of the world of extra-geometric constraints, this paper's authors conducted a novel experiment with "between".
The central question: Are similar effects of alternative control present with "between" as with "in" and "on"?
Judgements elicited on sentences such as "The ball is between the blocks" (and with other prepositions) to describe the position of the ball.
A manipulation with 3 different levels
No alternative source of connection
Loose alternative (non-rigid chain).
Rigid and substantial alternative.
Stronger alternative connections
between blocks =
less confidence in "between"
as the preposition to use.
(if you prefer, you can send them by mail ahaha)
Preposition choice is guided by our knowledge of objects and object-specific functional information

...but also what we expect to happen over time to objects in a scene.
Note that spatial prepositions are not equivalent e.g. over/under very sensitive to object knowledge; above/below influenced more by geometrics (see Coventry et al., 2001).
Full transcript