Spatial Tapping Interferes With the Processing of Linguistic Spatial Relations

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Simple spatial relations may be represented either in a propositional format that is dependent on verbal rehearsal or in a picture-like format that is maintained by visual-spatial rehearsal. In sentence-picture and picture-picture verification tasks, we examined the effect of an articulatory suppression and a spatial tapping dual task on the encoding of simple spatial relations (e.g., triangle left of circle). Articulatory suppression did not interfere, while spatial tapping lowered performance in both tasks. Apparently, both linguistic and perceptual inputs of simple spatial relations engaged the visual-spatial working memory. In the sentence-picture verification experiments, spatial tapping only hampered performance of participants who were classified on the basis of their RT patterns as having used a visual-spatial strategy, while it had no effect for those who were classified as having applied a verbal strategy. Therefore, this study provides converging evidence, using a dual-task methodology, that both separate verbal and visual-spatial strategies exist for the processing of simple spatial sentences.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)259-271
JournalCanadian Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • IR-73313

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