Shaping Relations: Exploiting Relational Features For Visuospatial Priming

Katherine A. Livins, Leonidas Doumas, Michael Spivey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

While relational reasoning has been described as a process at the heart of human cognition, the exact character of relational representations remains an open debate. Symbolic-connectionist models of relational cognition suggest that relations are structured representations, but that they are ultimately grounded in feature sets; thus, they predict that activating those features can affect the trajectory of the relational reasoning process. The present work points out that such models do not necessarily specify what those features are though, and endeavors to show that spatial information is likely a part of it. To this end, it presents two experiments that used visuospatial priming to affect the course of relational reasoning. The first is a relational category-learning experiment in which this type of priming was shown to affect which spatial relation was learned when multiple were possible. The second used crossmapping analogy problems, paired with this same type of priming, to show that visuospatial cues can make participants more likely to map analogs based on relational roles, even with short presentation times.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-139
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number1
Early online date31 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


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