Spatial Reasoning within Visible Functional Constraints

Abstract

In an eye tracking experiment, the interplay of visual and verbal information was studied in the domain of spatial relational reasoning. Standard verbal two-dimensional reasoning problems were presented auditorily along with visible context. In one condition, the visual-verbal interplay was designed to limit the number of interpretations that participants should consider for a set of premises. Past research has shown that visual context does not appear to limit the number of interpretations participants produce in this domain. In the present study, however, participants’ responses, premise processing times, and gaze behavior confirmed that the interplay of visual and verbal information successfully directed participants towards a single interpretation when functional constraints disambiguated spatial relations. The results corroborate theories of situated language processing and demonstrate perceptual grounding and functional modulation in spatial reasoning.


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