Majid, A., Bowerman, M., Kita, S., Haun, D. B. M., & Levinson, S. C. (2004). Can language restructure cognition? The case for space. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(3), 108-114. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2004.01.003.
Frames of reference are coordinate systems used to
compute and specify the location of objects with
respect to other objects. These have long been thought
of as innate concepts, built into our neurocognition.
However, recent work shows that the use of such
frames in language, cognition and gesture varies crossculturally,
and that children can acquire different systems
with comparable ease. We argue that language
can play a significant role in structuring, or restructuring,
a domain as fundamental as spatial cognition. This
suggests we need to rethink the relation between the
neurocognitive underpinnings of spatial cognition and
the concepts we use in everyday thinking, and, more
generally, to work out how to account for cross-cultural
cognitive diversity in core cognitive domains.