Spatial proximity terms, such as near and far, communicate information regarding the distance in which a “located” object can be found with respect to a “reference” object. The present paper investigates whether people take into account the location of an object extraneous to the located object and reference object pair, when setting the scale for proximity language judgements. Across three experiments participants rated the appropriateness of near and far to describe spatial scenes that included a third (distractor) object positioned the same distance as the located object from the reference object, but at varying distances from the located object. The results show that the presence of other spatial relations affects scale setting, resulting in differences in appropriateness ratings for those spatial terms.
- spatial language
- proximity prepositions