Tight and loose are not created equal: An asymmetry underlying the representation of fit in English- and Korean-speakers

Heather M. Norbury, Sandra R. Waxman, Hyun Joo Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Research concerning the spatial dimension fit (tight versus loose) has been based on a tacit but untested assumption that the dimension fit is symmetrical, with tight- and loose-fitting relations highlighting the dimension fit with equal force. We propose a reformulation, documenting that adult speakers of English (Experiment 1) and Korean (Experiment 2) are sensitive to the dimension fit, but that their representation is asymmetric, with tight-fitting events highlighting fit with greater force than loose-fitting events. We propose that sensitivity to the dimension fit is more resilient than has previously been suggested, and that the asymmetry documented here provides a foundation upon which to pursue nuanced questions about the relationship between language and our underlying representations of space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-325
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Dec 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Cite this