Language shapes a persons ability to perceive spatial orientation

“One report relates how a speaker of Tzeltal from southern Mexico was blindfolded and spun around more than 20 times in a darkened house. Still blindfolded and dizzy, he pointed without hesitation at the geographic directions.”

Though this statement may seem to suggest that humans have some innate ability to sense direction, the author seems to suggest that a person who has spent a lifetime being aware of there spatial orientation has learned to discern there location readily.

“One way of understanding this is to imagine that you are traveling with a speaker of such a language and staying in a large chain-style hotel, with corridor upon corridor of identical-looking doors. Your friend is staying in the room opposite yours, and when you go into his room, you’ll see an exact replica of yours: the same bathroom door on the left, the same mirrored wardrobe on the right, the same main room with the same bed on the left, the same curtains drawn behind it, the same desk next to the wall on the right, the same television set on the left corner of the desk and the same telephone on the right. In short, you have seen the same room twice. But when your friend comes into your room, he will see something quite different from this, because everything is reversed north-side-south. In his room the bed was in the north, while in yours it is in the south; the telephone that in his room was in the west is now in the east, and so on. So while you will see and remember the same room twice, a speaker of a geographic language will see and remember two different rooms. ”

This implies that they are also storing more information to memory, and that non-geo languages have allowed people to compress spatial information. Does the bloat of this additional spatial information cause deficiencies in other areas of memory storage? At this time no one knows, but this area of research will undoutably change our understanding of consciousness itself.

source : brain mysteries

One thought on “Language shapes a persons ability to perceive spatial orientation

  1. Pingback: Upgrade Your Brain « Just a few simple words from a simple guy for a simple story about a simple life.

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