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Spatial distance modulates reading times for sentences about social relations: evidence from eye tracking

Guerra, E., & Knoeferle, P. (2014). Spatial distance modulates reading times for sentences about social relations: evidence from eye tracking. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2014) (pp. 2315-2320). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from https://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2014/papers/403/.
Recent evidence from eye tracking during reading showed that non-referential spatial distance presented in a visual context can modulate semantic interpretation of similarity relations rapidly and incrementally. In two eye-tracking reading experiments we extended these findings in two important ways; first, we examined whether other semantic domains (social relations) could also be rapidly influenced by spatial distance during sentence comprehension. Second, we aimed to further specify how abstract language is co-indexed with spatial information by varying the syntactic structure of sentences between experiments. Spatial distance rapidly modulated reading times as a function of the social relation expressed by a sentence. Moreover, our findings suggest that abstract language can be co-indexed as soon as critical information becomes available for the reader.
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