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Previous studies have found interactions between the meaning of a word and the spatial position of the word (Barsalou, 2008; Zwaan and Yaxley, 2003). Some studies find that words or sentences with a directional component facilitate detection toward the congruent spatial direction (e.g., Šetić & Domijan, 2007; Dils & Boroditsky, 2007; Dils & Boroditsky, 2010; Pecher et al; 2010). For instance, the word "jump" would cue toward the top of a screen. Other studies find the opposite effect, where words with implicit spatial meaning show an interference effect (e.g., Bergen et al, 2007; Estes et al, 2008; Dils & Boroditsky, 2010). In these cases the word "jump" would result in faster reaction times to stimuli in the bottom of the screen. This experiment attempts to answer this controversy by looking at temporal effects. These differences might be due to inhibition of return (Posner & Cohen, 1984). If that is the case, you would expect to see a timeline where there is a facilitation effect followed by interference. Results of the study show no effect of time, however there were strong item effects. Most sentences consistently showed either a facilitation or inhabitation effect across all times. This suggests that these effects are modulated by the items that are used.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Michael Kaschak, Professor Directing Thesis; Walter Boot, Committee Member; Arielle Borovsky, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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