Procesos neurológicos implicados en la perspectiva del yo durante la comprensión del lenguaje

  1. Enrique García Marco
Supervised by:
  1. Manuel de Vega Rodríguez Director
  2. David Beltran Guerrero Director
  3. Inmaculada León Santana Director

Defence university: Universidad de La Laguna

Year of defence: 2017

  1. Manuel Martín Loeches Chair
  2. Horacio A. Barber Friend Secretary
  3. Marco Zanon Committee member
  1. Psicología Cognitiva, Social y Organizacional

Type: Thesis


In the linguistic field of pragmatics, deixis refers to the use of certain words that require knowledge about the speaker’s perspective to fully understand their referent. Deictic words are semantically impoverished as they provide little information about the referent. For instance, ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘before’ or ‘here’ are terms that only can convey a full meaning when they are linked, respectively, to the current speaker, the current listener, the speaker’s utterance of time and the speaker’s spatial perspective. This referential cluster of ‘here-now-I-you’ has been called the ‘deictic center’, especially in face-to-face conversational settings (Bühler, 1982; Duchan, Bruder & Hewitt, 1995). There are also deictic verbs that express motions from the speaker’s point of view in the deictic center. Thus, deictic proximal verbs (‘come’, ‘bring’) refer to a motion toward the speaker’s location, whereas distal verbs (‘go’, ‘take’) denote a motion away from the speaker’s place (Black, Turner & Bower, 1979; Fillmore, 1966). This dissertation deals with a timeless topic: the interface between language and spatial cognition. However, it has several novelties in comparison with previous researches. First, here the task demand was just reading for comprehension, whereas in most studies in the literature, participants were asked to learn verbal descriptions or maps of environments, and then make spatial judgments that explicitly require inferences (e.g., Avraamides & Carlson, 2003; Bower & Morrow, 1990; Franklin & Tversky, 1990; de Vega & Rodrigo, 2001). Second, we used large-scale spatial environments (geographical places) rather than small-scale environments (objects distributed in a room) as it is usual in other studies. Third, we collected brain measures, in addition to behavioral measures, providing for the first time ERP effects (N1, P2, P3 and N4 components) associated with geographical perspective. Fourth, most of the perspective effect reported here are associated with the manipulation of purely linguistic markers (the grammatical person and the deictic verbs of motion), which demonstrated being powerful modulators of perspective in reading. Fourth, the last experiment demonstrated that, in absence of any other information, a paralinguistic cue, the regional accent, also modulates the listener’s perspective-taking.