The influence of temporal information and perspective taking on the representation of imagined events

Jeffrey HongWilfrid Laurier University
Todd FerrettiWilfrid Laurier University
Deanna HallWilfrid Laurier University

Abstract

The current research examines how the representation of imagined events is constrained by Grammatical Aspect (imperfective/perfective), Lexical Aspect (activities/accomplishments), and first versus third person perspective taking. In one experiment, participants imagined events based on written cues that framed events as completed or as ongoing (e.g., I was exercising). In a follow-up experiment, participants read written stimuli describing ongoing activities from first or third-person perspective. During reading, slow cortical potential amplitudes were recorded to index the difficulty associated with imagining events. It was found that imperfective-accomplishments and perfective-activity cues are more difficult to imagine than perfective-accomplishments and imperfective-activity cues. Greater difficulty was also associated with taking third versus first-person perspective when imagining ongoing activities. This research provides novel insight into how temporal information associated with verbs and perspective influence event representations.

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