Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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Fieldwork conducted among the Yucatec Maya of Mexico reveals that this group preferentially uses a geocentric frame of reference in both linguistic and non-linguistic tasks. Contrary to other cultural groups (such as the Guugu Yimithir of Australia or Tzeltal of México), this frame does not seem to rely on the use of specific spatial terms (such as cardinal directions for instance). Because linguistic evidence is not sufficient to determine which frame of reference is used, attention to gestural deixis is particularly relevant. Using a comparative French example, we present a method of analysis for gestural deixis and show that Yucatec speakers, both children and adults, rely primarily on a geocentric frame of reference in giving spatial indications of directions.

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