Spatial Reasoning in Native Speakers of Russian and German

Abstract

The relationship between reasoning and language has been frequently studied. Here we explore principles of spatial reasoning in Germans and Russians. We compared the performance of Russians in three different settings to the performance of Germans. The task was to construct layouts of wooden blocks according to verbal instructions, describing the relations of these blocks. Subsequently pieces of new information, introduced as incontrovertible facts and partly contradicting the initial descriptions, were given. Participants re-arranged the blocks to take into account the new facts. Recent research conducted with Germans has shown that – although alternatives are logical equivalent - there are preferences for certain solutions. The question was whether Russians show the same or different preferences. Our results suggest that construction and revision of spatial models follow similar principles. However, we observed differences between the groups regarding the flexibility to apply a principle based on the order of words in a sentence.


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