Paper abstract bibtex
Word Count: 10579(main text) 2 Summary Representations of words are often viewed as discrete and static while those of sensori-motor systems are seen as continuous and dynamic, a distinction mirroring the larger contrast between amodal and perceptual symbol systems. Spatial language provides an effective domain to examine the connection between non-linguistic and linguistic systems because it is an unambiguous case of linguistic and sensori-motor systems coming together. To this end, we reconsider foundational work in spatial language by Hayward and Tarr (1995) and Crawford and colleagues (2000) which emphasizes representation in the abstract. In particular, we use a process-based theory of spatial working memory—the Dynamic Field Theory—to generate and test novel predictions regarding the time-dependent link between spatial memory and spatial language. Our analysis and empirical findings suggest that focusing on the processes underlying spatial language, rather than representations per se, can produce more constrained theories of the connection between sensori-motor and linguistic systems.