Graduation Date

Spring 2021

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Kauyumari Sanchez

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Amber Gaffney

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Gregg Gold

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s superman!? Sometimes there are things in our world that are ambiguous. An ambiguous object, for the purposes of this thesis is any object that has more than one interpretation to it. The brain is designed to “fill in the blanks” and make sense of the world. Thus it will use anything available, like language, to help in resolving the ambiguity. Language can change how we perceive information in the world (Dils & Boroditsky, 2010) and where we direct our attention (Ostarek & Vigliocco, 2017; Estes et. al. 2008; Estes, Verges, Adelman, 2015). Language can play a role in resolving ambiguity by directing attention in certain directions. For example, if I say “upward” and you see something in the sky, you might be inclined to perceive items that are typical in that location (e.g. bird and plane) as compared to atypical items (e.g. wrench) (Estes, Verges, & Adelman, 2015; Estes, Verges, & Barsalou, 2008). However, to date, no study has investigated whether it is possible that such spatial language cues (like “upwards” and “downwards”) can affect the interpretation of an ambiguous stimulus. The aim of this thesis is to explore the effect of spatial language cues on the perception of ambiguous images.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location