The Space Between Our Ears

How movement, gesture, and spatial reasoning form the foundation of thoughts

Maria Zaikina (Flickr/suzy_yes)
Maria Zaikina (Flickr/suzy_yes)

The prevailing view on how we think is that we use language: through writing our thoughts down, or debating them with friends, or reading other people’s words in books. But might there be some concepts, some feelings, some images, that are beyond words? After all, what’s the point of visual art or design or classical music if they don’t have meaning without the words to describe them? What are our thoughts really made of? The psychologist Barbara Tversky has a wrench to throw in the argument that language is behind cognition. She makes the case that movement and spatial reasoning are the real keys to understanding our bodies and their place in the world, as well as the wildly abstract thoughts we come up with.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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