Spatial agency bias and word order flexibility : A comparison of 14 European languages

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Suitner , C , Maass , A , Navarrete , E , Formanowicz , M , Bratanova , B , Cervone , C , Hakoköngäs , J E , Kuppens , T , Lipourli , E , Rakic , T , Scatolon , A , Teixeira , C P , Wang , Z , Sobral , M P & Carrier , A 2021 , ' Spatial agency bias and word order flexibility : A comparison of 14 European languages ' , Applied Psycholinguistics , vol. 42 , no. 3 , 0142716420000831 , pp. 657-671 . https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716420000831

Title: Spatial agency bias and word order flexibility : A comparison of 14 European languages
Author: Suitner, Caterina; Maass, Anne; Navarrete, Eduardo; Formanowicz, Magdalena; Bratanova, Boyka; Cervone, Carmen; Hakoköngäs, Juho Eemeli; Kuppens, Toon; Lipourli, Eleni; Rakic, Tamara; Scatolon, Andrea; Teixeira, Catia P.; Wang, Zhenlan; Sobral, Maria Pedro; Carrier, Antonin
Contributor organization: Everyday thinking and arguing
Social Psychology
Date: 2021-05
Language: eng
Number of pages: 15
Belongs to series: Applied Psycholinguistics
ISSN: 0142-7164
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716420000831
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/330655
Abstract: The spatial agency bias predicts that people whose native language is rightward written will predominantly envisage action along the same direction. Two mechanisms contribute jointly to this asymmetry: (a) an embodied process related to writing/reading; (b) a linguistic regularity according to which sentence subjects (typically the agent) tend to precede objects (typically the recipient). Here we test a novel hypothesis in relation to the second mechanism, namely, that this asymmetry will be most pronounced in languages with rigid word order. A preregistered study on 14 European languages (n = 420) varying in word order flexibility confirmed a rightward bias in drawings of interactions between two people (agent and recipient). This bias was weaker in more flexible languages, confirming that embodied and linguistic features of language interact in producing it.
Subject: cross-linguistic
spatial agency bias
word order
GENDER
5144 Social psychology
6121 Languages
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion


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