A Cognitive Map Experiment: Mental Representations and the Encoding Process.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elisabeth S. Nelson, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Researchers have long debated the mental representation of knowledge. The theories initially spawned by this debate were propositional theory, imagery theory, and dual-coding theory. Related research further suggests that knowledge encoding processes such as landmark-based and path-based learning may also affect these representations. Such theories form a basis from which cartographers can begin to explore the mental representations of spatial knowledge. The purpose of this study was to assess the mental organization of spatial information and to examine the effect of varying the encoding process. An experiment was conducted in which subjects studied a map presented to them using one of three encoding processes and one of two grid conditions. Subjects then examined a series of test maps and determined whether each map was the same as or different from the original studied map. Test maps that differed from the original map studied were modified by either replacing, displacing, or reversing the perspective of a map object, Results of the study indicated that the type of encoding process, type of map modification, and type of spatial object manipulated all significantly affected the accuracy with which subjects completed the tasks.

Additional Information

Cartography and Geographic Information Systems, v. 23(4): 229-248.
Language: English
Date: 1996
Cognitive map, Imagery coding, Propositional coding, Landmark-based learning, Path-based learning, Spatial encoding processes

Email this document to