Here is this sentence

The most regular patterns originate from a universal human predisposition to conceptualize time in terms of space in certain preferential ways.

Can I replace predisposition with tendency without damaging the intended meaning in this context?

1 Answer 1


Predisposition means a bias to do something innately without or before being taught, and means something happens all the time

A tendency usually refers to a bias in a repetitive situation, when it happens over and over again, and means something happens most of the time. If

Ducks are predisposed to swim before they fly

He has a tendency to drink too much every time he goes out and often gets drunk.
He is predisposed to drink to much and always gets drunk.

  • +1 for a great answer, but I don't believe that the word 'predisposition' always has to refer to something that happens 'all the time.' For example, having a genetic predisposition to some condition (e.g. diabetes) means having an increased likelihood (not inevitability) of developing that condition later: diabetes.org/diabetes/genetics-diabetes . Obviously, the word 'tendency' would not work at all in this context, which is another way in which the two words are not 100% synonymous. May 6, 2023 at 5:41

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