World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Lera Boroditsky

Article Id: WHEBN0003021536
Reproduction Date:

Title: Lera Boroditsky  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Fictive motion, Linguistic relativity, Philosophy of language, Benjamin Lee Whorf, List of Russian Americans
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Lera Boroditsky

Lera Boroditsky (born about 1976 in Belarus) is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at UCSD and Editor in Chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology. She studies language and cognition, specifically focusing on interactions between language, cognition, and perception. She received her B.A. from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. from Stanford University, where her thesis advisor was Gordon Bower.

Her research combines insights and methods from linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology. She has received several awards for her research, including an NSF CAREER award, the Marr Prize from the Cognitive Science Society, and being named a Searle Scholar.

Her work has provided new insights on the controversial question of whether the languages we speak shape the way we think (see Sapir–Whorf hypothesis). She has discovered empirical examples of cross-linguistic differences in thought and perception that stem from syntactic or lexical differences between languages. This work had influences in the fields of psychology, philosophy, and linguistics in countering the notion that human cognition is largely universal and independent of language and culture.

In addition to scholarly work, Boroditsky also gives popular science lectures to the general public, and her work has been covered in news and media outlets.


In her article “Does language shape thought? Mandarin and English speakers' conceptions of time” (2001), Boroditsky has argued for a weak version of linguistic relativity, providing a ground for it through her cross-language studies on verb tenses carried out with English and Mandarin speakers. She argues that English speaker conceive time in a way that is analogous to their conception of a spatial horizontal movement, whereas native Mandarin speakers associate it to a vertical movement. She has also stated that these differences do not totally determine conceptualization, since it is possible for the speakers of a language to be taught to think like the other language speaker do, needless to learn this other language. Therefore, and according to Boroditsky, mother tongues may have an effect on cognition, but it is not determining.[1]


  1. ^ Boroditsky, Lera, "Does language shape thought? Mandarin and English speakers' conceptions of time" Psychological Science, 13(2), 185–188.


  • Boroditsky, L. & Ramscar, M. (2002). The roles of body and mind in abstract thought. Psychological Science, 13(2), 185–188.
  • Boroditsky, L. (2001). Does language shape thought? English and Mandarin speakers' conceptions of time. Cognitive Psychology, 43(1), 1–22.
  • Boroditsky, L. (2000). Metaphoric Structuring: Understanding time through spatial metaphors. Cognition, 75(1), 1–28.

External links

  • Boroditsky's website
  • NPR interview (MP3)
  • Story in the Economist
  • Audio of An interview with Lera Boroditsky on Language and Thought with Joshua Landy on November 4, 2008.
  • Searle Scholars Profile
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.