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WORKSHOP SERIES IN COGNITIVE SCIENCE: The Mind’s Spatialization in Humans and Non-humans

12 juillet 2019 - MSHS Sud Est
Grands Colloques de l’Académie 5
Avec le soutien de l’Axe Sciences Cognitives & Computation

12/07/2019   :   09h00
Maison des Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société Sud-Est
Publication : 12/07/2019
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Spatialization is the process by which spatial information is added by the cognitive system to process information (not necessarily spatial beforehand), often resulting in what is called a mental line. One of the first examples in the literature comes from Galton (1880) who reported that 5% of the individuals he interviewed naturally linked verbal information to space, for example by picturing numbers at very precise spatial locations. This privileged link between space and verbal information seems to have been naturally used even earlier in what the anthropologist Harwood (1976) described as myth spatialization, where spatial locations function as a mnemonic device for the recall of a myth (e.g., Australian aborigines or the Tobriand culture). Today spatialization and the spatial biases that come with it offer a vibrant realm of research which territory crosses various disciplines and domains. In numerical cognition and since the discovery of the SNARC effect (Dehaene et al., 1993), numerous studies have confirmed that numbers are also process spatially along the famous mental number line. Spatialization is also used by mnemonist when employing the venerable loci method (Yates, 1966) invented 2500 years ago. Research in human development seem to suggest that spatialization starts very early in life, as seven-month old babies show preferences to increasing numeral sequences only if small number are associated to the left and larger to the right (de Hevia et al., 2014). In animal cognition, spatialization is an important and hot topic, as shown from the reaction of the scientific community after the discovery that 3-day chicks naturally link small numerals to the left and larger ones to the right (Rugani et al., 2015). Although spatialization seems to possess an innate dimension, its direction appears to be also culturally determined and linked to the direction of reading/writing (Guida et al., 2018). On the whole, spatialization is thought to start as an innate phenomenon, but for humans a cultural layer is subsequently added (McCrink & de Hevia, 2018). The debate is whether the cultural effect finally takes precedence over the innate determinism, or whether both effects are cumulative (if yes, in what proportion?).

Given this productive field of research we would like to bring together in a workshop, researchers from around the globe and from various subdisciplines that have a common interest in spatialization. Our aim is to promote interactions and future collaborations, which outcome could shed a new light on spatialization and related topics.


  • Organization Committee
Alessandro Guida, Université Rennes 2
Fabien Mathy, Université Côte d’Azur


  • Keynotes

Rosa Rugani (University of Padova, Italy ; University of Pennsylvania, PA, USA)
Koleen McCrink (Barnard College-Columbia University, NY, USA)


  • Invited Talks

Elger Abrahamse (Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, Spain)
Steve Darling (Queen Margaret University, UK)
Catherine Thevenot (Université de Lausanne, Institute of Psychology, Switzerland)
Lola de Hevia (Paris Descartes and CNRS, France)
Jean-Phillipe van Dijck (Ghent University, Belgium)
Krzysztof Cipora (University of Tuebingen, Germany)

  • Program:

Download the full program at the bottom of this page


  • Where:

Maison des Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société Sud-Est
Bâtiment recherche – SJA 3
25 avenue François Mitterrand

06300 Nice

See access to MSHS Sud-Est here


  • When:

Friday, July 12th 2019


  • No registration fees

Registration is mandotary by e-mail

Please provide your full name, position and institution.

Registration on the basis of first come, first served in the limit of the seats available.


  •  Call for proposal:

To submit a proposal (talk or poster), please send an abstract using the template below. The deadline is May 1st noon.

Please note that because the workshop is mainly based on invitations, only one or two slots remain available for a talk.

Posters can be submitted until late June.