New space-time metaphors foster new mental representations of time


Can learning new linguistic metaphors foster new non-linguistic representations? We describe a set of studies in which we trained English-speaking participants to talk about time using vertical spatial metaphors that are novel to English. One group learned a mapping that placed earlier events above and the other a mapping that placed earlier events below. After mastering the new metaphors, participants were tested in a non-linguistic space-time implicit association task – the Orly task. This task has been used previously to document cross-linguistic differences in representations of time (Boroditsky et. al 2010; Fuhrman et al 2011). Some participants completed temporal judgments in the Orly task without any other secondary task, while others did so under either verbal or visual interference. Finally, we report data from a serendipitous sample of Chinese-English bilinguals on the same task.

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