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Spatial Cognition and Language Development

Space is a fundamental and universal aspect of the human experience. Understanding spatial organization around us helps us relate to the physical environment we live in, organize things, and navigate through space. From virtually the beginning of life, infants explore the spatial world around them, and by the end of the first year, they have already developed an impressive amount of knowledge about how objects physically relate to one another. In language development, space is also one of the first semantic domains that young children acquire. From the single-word stage, children talk about going up and down and about putting something in or on another. Early theories of language development claimed that children acquire word meanings by mapping preestablished, universal cognitive concepts directly onto words. ...

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