Parts of the human brain think about the same word differently, at least when it comes to prepositions, according to new language research in stroke patients conducted by scientists at Purdue University and the University of Iowa.
People who speak English often use the same prepositions, words such as "on," "in," "around" and "through," to indicate time as well as location. For example, compare "I will meet you at the store," to "I will meet you at 3 p.m." These examples show how time may be thought of metaphorically in terms of space.
Just because its the same word, however, doesnt mean the brain thinks about it the same way, said David Kemmerer, an assistant professor of psychological sciences and linguistics at Purdues College of Liberal Arts. "There has been a lot of cognitive neuroscience research about how the brain processes language pertaining to concrete things, such as animals or tools," said Kemmerer, who also is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Iowas Department of Neurology, where this research was conducted. "This is the first cognitive neuroscience study to investigate brain regions for spatial and temporal relations – those involving time – used in language.
Amy Patterson-Neubert | EurekAlert!
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