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The metaphoric nature of the ordinal position effect

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Abstract
<jats:p> Serial orders are thought to be spatially represented in working memory: The beginning items in the memorised sequence are associated with the left side of space and the ending items are associated with the right side of space. However, the origin of this ordinal position effect has remained unclear. It was suggested that the direction of serial order–space interaction is related to the reading/writing experience. An alternative hypothesis is that it originates from the “more is right”/“more is up” spatial metaphors we use in daily life. We can adjudicate between the two viewpoints in Chinese readers; they read left-to-right but also have a culturally ancient top-to-bottom reading/writing direction. Thus, the reading/writing viewpoint predicts no or a top-to-bottom effect in serial order–space interaction; whereas the spatial metaphor theory predicts a clear bottom-to-top effect. We designed four experiments to investigate this issue. First, we found a left-to-right ordinal position effect, replicating results obtained in Western populations. However, the vertical ordinal position effect was in the bottom-to-top direction; moreover, it was modulated by hand position (e.g., left hand bottom or up). We suggest that order–space interactions may originate from different sources and are driven by metaphoric comprehension, which itself may ground cognitive processing. </jats:p>
Keywords
Experimental and Cognitive Psychology, Physiology (medical), Physiology, General Psychology, Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology, General Medicine

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Zhou, Dandan et al. “The Metaphoric Nature of the Ordinal Position Effect.” QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY 72.8 (2019): 2121–2129. Print.
APA
Zhou, D., Zhong, H., Dong, W., Li, M., Verguts, T., & Chen, Q. (2019). The metaphoric nature of the ordinal position effect. QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, 72(8), 2121–2129.
Chicago author-date
Zhou, Dandan, Hanxi Zhong, Wenshan Dong, Min Li, Tom Verguts, and Qi Chen. 2019. “The Metaphoric Nature of the Ordinal Position Effect.” Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 72 (8): 2121–2129.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Zhou, Dandan, Hanxi Zhong, Wenshan Dong, Min Li, Tom Verguts, and Qi Chen. 2019. “The Metaphoric Nature of the Ordinal Position Effect.” Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 72 (8): 2121–2129.
Vancouver
1.
Zhou D, Zhong H, Dong W, Li M, Verguts T, Chen Q. The metaphoric nature of the ordinal position effect. QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY. 2019;72(8):2121–9.
IEEE
[1]
D. Zhou, H. Zhong, W. Dong, M. Li, T. Verguts, and Q. Chen, “The metaphoric nature of the ordinal position effect,” QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 72, no. 8, pp. 2121–2129, 2019.
@article{8623916,
  abstract     = {<jats:p> Serial orders are thought to be spatially represented in working memory: The beginning items in the memorised sequence are associated with the left side of space and the ending items are associated with the right side of space. However, the origin of this ordinal position effect has remained unclear. It was suggested that the direction of serial order–space interaction is related to the reading/writing experience. An alternative hypothesis is that it originates from the “more is right”/“more is up” spatial metaphors we use in daily life. We can adjudicate between the two viewpoints in Chinese readers; they read left-to-right but also have a culturally ancient top-to-bottom reading/writing direction. Thus, the reading/writing viewpoint predicts no or a top-to-bottom effect in serial order–space interaction; whereas the spatial metaphor theory predicts a clear bottom-to-top effect. We designed four experiments to investigate this issue. First, we found a left-to-right ordinal position effect, replicating results obtained in Western populations. However, the vertical ordinal position effect was in the bottom-to-top direction; moreover, it was modulated by hand position (e.g., left hand bottom or up). We suggest that order–space interactions may originate from different sources and are driven by metaphoric comprehension, which itself may ground cognitive processing. </jats:p>},
  author       = {Zhou, Dandan and Zhong, Hanxi and Dong, Wenshan and Li, Min and Verguts, Tom and Chen, Qi},
  issn         = {1747-0218},
  journal      = {QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY},
  keywords     = {Experimental and Cognitive Psychology,Physiology (medical),Physiology,General Psychology,Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology,General Medicine},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {2121--2129},
  title        = {The metaphoric nature of the ordinal position effect},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1747021819832860},
  volume       = {72},
  year         = {2019},
}

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