The (Spatial) memory game: Testing the relationship between spatial language, object knowledge, and spatial cognition

Harmen B. Gudde*, Debra Griffiths, Kenny R. Coventry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The memory game paradigm is a behavioral procedure to explore the relationship between language, spatial memory, and object knowledge. Using two different versions of the paradigm, spatial language use and memory for object location are tested under different, experimentally manipulated conditions. This allows us to tease apart proposed models explaining the influence of object knowledge on spatial language (e.g., spatial demonstratives), and spatial memory, as well as understanding the parameters that affect demonstrative choice and spatial memory more broadly. Key to the development of the method was the need to collect data on language use (e.g., spatial demonstratives: "this/that") and spatial memory data under strictly controlled conditions, while retaining a degree of ecological validity. The language version (section 3.1) of the memory game tests how conditions affect language use. Participants refer verbally to objects placed at different locations (e.g., using spatial demonstratives: "this/that red circle"). Different parameters can be experimentally manipulated: the distance from the participant, the position of a conspecific, and for example whether the participant owns, knows, or sees the object while referring to it. The same parameters can be manipulated in the memory version of the memory game (section 3.2). This version tests the effects of the different conditions on object-location memory. Following object placement, participants get 10 seconds to memorize the object's location. After the object and location cues are removed, participants verbally direct the experimenter to move a stick to indicate where the object was. The difference between the memorized and the actual location shows the direction and strength of the memory error, allowing comparisons between the influences of the respective parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere56495
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior
  • Cross-linguistics
  • Issue 132
  • Memory game
  • Object knowledge
  • Peri/extrapersonal space
  • Spatial cognition
  • Spatial language
  • Spatial memory


Dive into the research topics of 'The (Spatial) memory game: Testing the relationship between spatial language, object knowledge, and spatial cognition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this