magic starSummarize by Aili

How We Make Sense of Time

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article explores how different cultures conceptualize and represent the concepts of past, present, and future through the use of spatial metaphors. It discusses how the "time is like space" metaphor is universal across cultures, but the specific spatial metaphors used can vary significantly.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] The "Time Is Like Space" Metaphor

1. What is the "time is like space" metaphor, and how is it expressed across cultures?

  • The "time is like space" metaphor refers to how humans build their understanding of time using familiar spatial ideas such as size, movement, and location.
  • This metaphor appears to be universal across cultures, where people talk about time using spatial language (e.g. "a short weekend", "the week flew by").
  • Time can be conceptualized from an internal perspective (with past, present, and future as locations) or an external perspective (viewing the succession of events from the outside).
  • These basic time-space metaphors are expressed in a variety of unrelated languages around the world.

2. How do the specific spatial metaphors used for time vary across cultures?

  • Even though the "time is like space" metaphor is universal, the exact spatial metaphors used can differ significantly across cultures.
  • For example, in Aymara (a language in the Andes), the future is conceptualized as being behind the speaker, while the past is in front.
  • In Pormpuraaw (an Aboriginal Australian community), past and future are determined by cardinal directions, with past times to the east and future times to the west.
  • In Yupno (Papua New Guinea), the future is conceptualized as being uphill, and the past as downhill.
  • These cultural differences in spatial metaphors reflect different cultural preoccupations and ways of organizing the world.

[02] Forward in Time, Forward in the Mind

1. How do spatial cues influence our thinking about time, even when not communicating?

  • Studies have shown that adults and children cannot ignore spatial cues when making judgments about time.
  • For example, the length of a line on a screen can influence how long people think it was visible.
  • Thinking about time can also interfere with spatial tasks, suggesting the two are closely linked in the mind.
  • Experiments have also shown that priming people with spatial experiences (like airplane travel) can influence how they interpret ambiguous temporal language.

2. What evidence is there that the brain uses overlapping mechanisms for processing space and time?

  • Brain imaging studies have found that tasks involving the order of past and future events engage brain areas known to support spatial imagery.
  • People with damage to space-related brain areas also have trouble thinking about time, such as confusing past and future events.
  • These findings suggest that parts of the brain used for spatial thinking may also be used for temporal reasoning.

[03] The Influence of Writing

1. How do writing systems and graphical practices influence conceptions of time?

  • The linear presentation of written text, from left to right or top to bottom, guides intuitions about the flow of time.
  • Studies have shown that people from different writing traditions (left-to-right vs. right-to-left) arrange temporally ordered images differently.
  • Even blind people develop a left-to-right mental model of time based on their experience reading Braille.
  • Graphical practices like timelines and calendars also shape our spatial metaphors for time.

2. How do the spatial metaphors for time differ between cultures with and without writing traditions?

  • Cultures without writing traditions, like Aymara and Yupno, still develop spatial metaphors for time, suggesting these metaphors predate the invention of writing.
  • However, writing and graphical practices can significantly influence and reinforce particular spatial metaphors for time within a culture.
  • The article suggests new spatial metaphors for time may emerge as our culture and technologies continue to evolve.
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
ยฉ 2024 NewMotor Inc.