Human Factors Lab studies cross-linguistic human understanding of space and time via crowdsourcing

Members of the Human Factors in GIScience Lab will present a seminal article at the upcoming Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT2013) on how to use crowdsourcing technology to shed light on cross-linguistic differences of human understanding of space and time.

The team is led by Dr. Alexander Klippel and includes Dr. Jan Oliver Wallgrün, Jinlong Yang, Jennifer Mason, and Eun-Kyeong Kim from the Human Factors Lab as well as Professor David Mark from SUNY Buffalo, an internationally recognized expert on cross-cultural studies. In a case study comparing English, Chinese, and Korean native language speakers, the important relation of 'overlap' was examined across these three languages. Imagine the possibility of two gang territories overlapping in different ways and what potential consequences the type of overlap may have. The results show a strong agreement across all three languages on what can be considered the most fundamental distinctions with respect to overlapping spatial regions.

"We are very excited about this study" Dr. Klippel says, "not only the results themselves are fascinating but also the combination of crowdsourcing and basic research that opens marvelous new avenues and accelerates data collection in unprecedented ways." The Human Factors Lab is spearheading crowdsourcing research in the area of spatial cognition and has already made several important contributions demonstrating the fruitfulness of crowdsourcing for research addressing questions of how people think spatially.

Klippel, A., Wallgrün, J. O., Yang, J., Mason, J. S., Kim, E.-K., & Mark, D. M. (accepted). Fundamental cognitive concepts of space and time: Using cross-linguistic, crowdsourced data to cognitively calibrate modes of overlap. In Conference on Spatial Information Theory, COSIT 2013.

For more information, contact Krista Kahler at

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