Talking about objects in motion: investigating the meaning of in front of, behind, leading and following

Smith, Martin (2016) Talking about objects in motion: investigating the meaning of in front of, behind, leading and following. MRes thesis, University of Lincoln.

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Abstract

Motion has been shown to generate a front-back axis in objects that people can use to talk about
object location: e.g., the red billiard ball is following the white billiard ball. However, we have only
recently become to understand some of the factors that generate a front-back axis during motion
(Coventry & Frias-Lindquist, 2005). We investigated the relative contribution of three factors:
Translation, the co-ordinate changes of objects through space, Intrinsic Motion, the motion of object
parts (e.g., turning wheels), and Motion Control, whether the co-ordinate changes are self-governed
or externally imposed (Coventry & Garrod, 2004). Participants were asked to indicate the
acceptability of the prepositions in front of and behind, and the verbs leading and following, while
watching scenes of two moving objects through a virtual reality headset. Acceptability scores and
reaction times showed that translation contributed most, followed by intrinsic motion and motion
control in the generation of a front-back axis. Verbs appeared to be more sensitive to motion control
than prepositions. We explain the results in terms of inference generating a weaker, but quicker
front-back axis when there is a lack of translation and motion control having a larger role in endpoint
assignment rather than front-back axis generation.

Keywords:Word learning
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:24209
Deposited On:19 Sep 2016 13:51

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