One of the prominent characteristics of human language and cognition is to use the spatial concepts such as “front” and “back” to understand and represent temporal concepts such as the “past” and “future”. However, people’s implicit space-time mappings are not always consistent with explicit space-time mappings in their speech. In recent years, the “Temporal Focus Hypothesis” proposes that sagittal space-time mappings in people’s minds are shaped by their attentional focus, namely, the conceptualizers’ attentions to past, present and future events. A large body of research has shown that many factors related to temporal focus such as cultural attitudes, individual differences and life experiences may influence people’s implicit space-time mappings. These studies not only provide supporting evidence for the “Temporal Focus Hypothesis”, but also reflect the flexibility and malleability of human time cognition system.
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