ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2018, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (10): 1083-1093.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.01083

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


李恒1(), 曹宇2   

  1. 1厦门大学外文学院, 厦门 361005
    2中南财经政法大学外国语学院, 武汉430073
  • 收稿日期:2017-12-19 发布日期:2018-08-23 出版日期:2018-10-15
  • 基金资助:
    * 厦门大学研究生田野调查项目(2017GF023);国家社科基金(15BYY082)

The influence of temporal focus on implicit space-time mappings on the front-back axis: Evidence from Han and Qiang Chinese

LI Heng1(), CAO Yu2   

  1. 1 College of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
    2 School of Foreign Languages, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan 430073, China
  • Received:2017-12-19 Online:2018-08-23 Published:2018-10-15


采用不同的研究方法考察汉族和羌族被试内隐时空映射的联结方向及其影响因素。实验1利用时间图表任务发现, 汉族被试对“过去在前”和“未来在前”两种内隐时空映射没有表现出明显偏好, 而羌族被试更加倾向于使用“过去在前”的内隐时空映射。由于二者均使用汉语, 但其内隐时空映射却存在差异, 显示出时间语言和时间思维的分离性。实验2利用时间焦点量表考察汉族和羌族被试对过去和未来时间的关注程度。结果发现, 前者对过去和未来的注意力程度相当, 而后者表现出较强的“过去朝向思维”, 说明文化中的时间焦点偏好可以较好地预测二者的内隐时空映射。实验3利用时间概念分类任务发现, 内隐时空映射有利于促进汉族和羌族被试时间概念的表征和加工, 出现了“隐喻一致性效应”。整个研究表明, 汉族和羌族文化中个体对待时间的态度可以决定其内隐时空映射联结方向, 支持“时间焦点假设”。

关键词: 汉族, 羌族, 内隐时空映射, 时间焦点, 概念隐喻


According to the Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT), metaphors allow people to rely on concrete, familiar knowledge such as spatial experience to understand abstract concepts such as time. For example, many languages throughout the world tend to associate the front side of space with the future and the back side with the past. Abundant evidence has shown that people think about time according to the space-time mappings in their speech. However, recent lines of research have suggested that people may not spatialize time as their language suggests. According to the Temporal Focus Hypothesis, people’s implicit space-time mappings are shaped by their cultural attitudes toward time. Compared to Han Chinese, Qiang Chinese tend to focus more on past times and older generations and place more values on their tradition and culture. Thus, it can be hypothesized that Qiang Chinese, who focus more on the past, should be more likely to conceptualize the past as in front of them than Han Chinese.

In Experiment 1, we administered a “time diagram task” in which participants were presented with a sheet depicting a cartoon character seen from above with a box ahead of him and another behind him. Participants were told that the character visited a friend who loved plants yesterday, and tomorrow he would be going to visit a friend who loves animals (or vice versa, as event-to-space assignment was counterbalanced). Participants were asked to place “plant” and “animal” in the boxes. In Experiment 2, we used a Temporal Focus Scale to quantify the proposed difference in temporal focus between Han and Qiang Chinese. It consisted of 8 assertions denoting opinions about past- and future-related topics. In Experiment 3, Han and Qiang Chinese participants were asked to complete a time classification task. In this task, they categorized the words denoting past or future events by pressing a corresponding response key placed ahead or behind a starting point.

Results from Experiments 1 and 2 showed that Qiang participants, who tend to be more past-focused, were also more likely to place the future event in the box behind the character and the past event in the box ahead of him. By contrast, Han Chinese showed no preferences for past-in-front mapping or future-in-front mapping, as predicted by their equally high agreement with past focus and future focus items. Experiment 3 showed that Qiang Chinese showed a response facilitation when processing temporal words in a direction compatible to their implicit space-time mappings as shown in Experiment 1 (i.e., past is front and future is back). However, Han Chinese did not show a response facilitation because they may have the same preference for both past-in-front and future-in-front mappings.

There are two contrasting views on how people implicitly associate the past and future with the front and back. Metaphor Structure View posits that people think about time the way they talk about in their spoken metaphors. However, we found no evidence in current studies for supporting this view since the directions of implicit space-time mappings in Han and Qiang Chinese were different despite both using the same spoken metaphors; thus, it suggests a striking dissociation between temporal language and temporal thought. Our results appear to support the Temporal Focus Hypothesis, which suggests that people’s implicit space-time mappings are shaped by their cultural attitudes. Taken together, this research contributes to the exiting literature that within-cultural differences (e.g., ethnicity) should be considered when studying the relationship between temporal focus and implicit space-time mappings.

Key words: Han, Qiang, implicit space-time mappings, temporal focus, conceptual metaphor