Cognitive maps: what are they and why study them?
Journal of Environmental Psychology, 14.
It is often implicitly assumed by researchers that their readers understand what cognitive map and
cognitive mapping are, and their justification for study. This paper differs in this respect by explaining
explicitly the 'what' and 'why' questions often asked, demonstrating cognitive mapping's multidisciplinary
research worth. First, it examines questions concerning what cognitive maps are, the confusion inherent
from the use of the term 'map', and the usage and reasons for alternative expressions. Second, it examines
the theoretical applications or conceptual research, concerning cognitive maps role in the influencing and
explaining spatial behaviour; spatial choice and decision making; wayiinding and orientation; and the
cognitive maps utility and role as a mnemonic and metaphorical devise; a shaper of world and local attitudes
and perspectives; and for creating and coping with imaginary worlds. Third, it discusses cognitive mapping's
practical and applied worth, concerning the planning of suitable living environments; advertising; crime
solving; search and rescue, geographical educational issues, cartography and remote sensing; and in the
designing and understanding computer interfaces and databases, especially Geographical Information
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