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Spatial representation of coherence

von Hecker, Ulrich ORCID:, Hahn, Ulrike and Rollings, Jasmine 2016. Spatial representation of coherence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 145 (7) , pp. 853-871. 10.1037/xge0000176

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Four experiments examined spatial correlates of the experience of coherence, that is, the extent to which propositions “fit together.” Experiment 1 demonstrates for Heiderian triads (i.e., sets of liking/disliking relations between 3 fictitious persons) that name pairs from balanced triads, such as 2 friends commonly disliking a third person (high coherence) are seen as closer to each other in physical space as compared to name pairs from unbalanced triads, such as 2 persons disliking each other and having a common friend (low coherence). This pattern of results is conceptually replicated in 2 further experiments for categorical syllogisms. Two terms in conclusions from valid syllogisms (high coherence) were seen as spatially closer to each other than when 2 terms came from invalid syllogisms (low coherence). In the final 2 experiments, similar closeness effects are demonstrated for word pairs from scenarios that “made sense” in terms of causal connectedness (latent causality) as opposed to word pairs from scenarios perceived as causally unconnected. These findings are discussed in the context of spatial binding theories, applied psychology, and embodied cognition in general, and their methodological implications are highlighted.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 0096-3445
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 April 2016
Date of Acceptance: 25 March 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 02:11

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