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Spatial Dimensions of Social Thought

Edited by: Thomas W. Schubert and Anne Maass

Space provides the stage for our social lives - social thought evolved and developed in a constant interaction with space. The volume demonstrates how this has led to an astonishing intertwining of spatial and social thought.

For the first time, research on language comprehension, metaphors, priming, spatial perception, face perception, art history and other fields is brought together to provide an integrative view. This overview confirms that often, metaphors reveal a deeper truth about how our mind uses spatial information to represent social concepts. Yet, the evidence also goes beyond this insight, showing for instance how flexible our mind operates with spatial metaphors, how the peculiarities of our bodies determine the way we assign meaning to space, and how the asymmetry of our brain influences spatial and face perception. Finally, it is revealed that also how we write language - from left to right or from right to left - shapes how we perceive, interpret, and produce horizontal movement and order. The evidence ranges from linguistics to social and spatial perception to neuropsychology, seamlessly integrating such diverse findings as speed in word comprehension, children's depictions of abstract concepts,estimates of the steepness of hills, and archival research on how often Homer Simpson is depicted left or right of Marge.

The chapters in this book offer a topology of social cognition and explore the pivotal role language plays in creating links between spatial and social thought.

Author Information

Thomas W. Schubert, Centro de Investigação e Intervencão Social, Lisboa, Portugal; Anne Maass, Universitá di Padova, Italy.

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Audience: Scholars and Students of Cognitive Linguistics, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, General Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Social-Cognitive Neuroscience, Inter-Cultural / Cross-cultural Psychology, Cognitive Anthropology