A team of researchers crammed themselves into a classroom in Japan. They passed out art supplies to the students and said, “Draw a landscape with a horizon.” On the other side of the world, the same scene played out in a Canadian classroom. Later, the researchers closely examined one detail—the placement of the horizon line. Why?
In some places, people talk about musical notes as being high or low, as in “Minnie Riperton could really hit the high notes.” In other places, people use a horizontal metaphor instead of a vertical one, talking about musical notes as being thick or thin. Are these spatial metaphors for musical pitch learned or innate?
Many older people have probably lost a step when it comes to certain cognitive functions, but they can take solace in the fact that they’re wiser now—wiser than they used to be and wiser than the typical young person. Right? Well, maybe. It apparently depends a great deal on where you live.