Video_1_The Variability of Mental Timeline in Vertical Dimension.mp4 (33.68 MB)
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Video_1_The Variability of Mental Timeline in Vertical Dimension.mp4

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posted on 31.12.2021, 13:01 authored by Jiaoyan He, Cuihua Bi, Hao Jiang, Jianan Meng

People often use concrete spatial terms to represent abstract time. Previous studies have shown that mental timeline (MTL) is represented along a horizontal axis. Studies of the mental timeline have demonstrated that compared with English speakers, Mandarin speakers are more likely to think about time vertically (up-down) than horizontally (left-right/front-back). Prior studies have suggested that MTL in the up and down dimensions originated from temporal-spatial metaphors in language. However, there are still a large number of perceptual experiences in the up and down dimensions, such as visual and sensorimotor experience. Then does the visual experience in daily life affect the MTL in the vertical dimension? This study is aimed to investigate whether visual experience can promote or activate the opposite direction of MTL from implicit and explicit levels. The results showed that when the time information in the task was not prominent, the direction of vertical MTL cannot be affected by ascending or descending perceptual experience. While when the time information was prominent, whether the task was implicit or explicit, compared with the control group, watching the top-down scene significantly increased the top-down direction selection, while in the implicit task, watching the bottom-up scene made the top-down MTL disappear. To the best of our knowledge, our study provides the first evidence that the flexibility of space–time associations in vertical dimension extends beyond explicit and embraces even implicit levels. This study shows that the vertical MTL is activated in certain conditions and could be affected by the visual experience.

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