The Spatial and Temporal Underpinnings of Social Distance

  • Justin L. Matthews
  • Teenie Matlock
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6222)


To what extent do people anchor thoughts about social relationships in terms of space and time? Three studies used drawing and estimation tasks to further explore the conceptual structure of “social” distance. In the three studies, participants read short narratives, drew what they imagined happening during the narrative, then estimated both time and distance. In general, results suggest that the conceptual structure of social relationships is linked to thought about space in terms of path drawing and temporal estimation, but not absolute distance estimation. Results are discussed in terms of mental simulation and inter-character interaction.


spatial reasoning distance estimation temporal judgments drawing mental simulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin L. Matthews
    • 1
  • Teenie Matlock
    • 1
  1. 1.Cognitive and Information SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaMercedUSA

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