Spatial congruity effects reveal metaphors, not markedness
Dolscheid, S., Graver, C., & Casasanto, D.
Spatial congruity effects reveal metaphors, not markedness. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.
), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013)
(pp. 2213-2218). Austin,TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from http://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2013/papers/0405/index.html.
Spatial congruity effects have often been interpreted as evidence for metaphorical thinking, but an alternative markedness-based account challenges this view. In two experiments, we directly
compared metaphor and markedness explanations for spatial congruity effects, using musical pitch as a testbed. English
speakers who talk about pitch in terms of spatial height were tested in speeded space-pitch compatibility tasks. To determine whether space-pitch congruency effects could be elicited by any marked
spatial continuum, participants were asked to classify high- and low-frequency pitches as 'high' and 'low' or as 'front' and 'back'
(both pairs of terms constitute cases of marked continuums). We found congruency effects in high/low conditions but not in front/back conditions, indicating that markedness is not sufficient
to account for congruity effects (Experiment 1). A second experiment showed that congruency effects were specific to spatial words that cued a vertical schema (tall/short), and that congruity effects were not an artifact of polysemy (e.g., 'high' referring both
to space and pitch). Together, these results suggest that congruency
effects reveal metaphorical uses of spatial schemas, not markedness effects.