The human mind carves time into events much as it carves space into objects. Events are activities that are perceived to have beginnings, middles, and ends, such as going to work and making a bed. Events performed by humans can be enacted by feet, as in getting to work, or by hands, as in making a bed. Although continuous, events are perceived to have discrete parts. Events by feet are segmented into actions at nodes, or turns at landmarks, as revealed in spontaneously produced route maps and route directions. In contrast, events by hands are segmented hierarchically. At the coarse level, the segments are punctuated by objects or object parts, sheets, pillowcases, and blanket in the case of making the bed. At the fine level, segments are punctuated by articulated actions on the same object, spreading the sheet, tucking in the corners, smoothing it out. For both events by feet and events by hands, the segments correspond to changes in goals in subgoals, signaled by perceptually salient changes in physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-14
Number of pages10
JournalSpatial Cognition and Computation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004


  • Events
  • Maps
  • Partonomy
  • Parts
  • Routes
  • Taxonomy


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