Environmental Psychology Lecture Notes: Cognitive Maps & Way Finding
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Environmental Psychology Lecture Notes: Cognitive Mapping, Orientation & Wayfinding
Cognitive maps: Mental representation of spaces & places in the world Tolman: American psychologist who theorized cognitive maps instead of memorizing muscle movements (rat mazes) Place learning vs. movement learning Faster at place learning Lynch The Image of the City (1960): cognitive maps & urban planning How to design things so that people can move around well in the city Sketch maps Elements of cognitive maps Lynch: 5 categories of features 1. Paths-streets, walkways, river ways, parts of the environment you can use to travel 2. Edges/boundaries-walls, cliffs, seashore 3. Districts-larger spaces with common characteristics, downtown, chinatown, fraternity row, parks 4. Nodes-major points where behavior is focused, paths intercept, intersection of paths, downtown square, round-about 5. Landmarks-easily viewed elements, distinctive features that we use as reference, picture, sculpture, certain buildings Errors in Cognitive Mapping
Incompleteness Paths left out Landmarks, districts left out Women leave out paths Men leave out landmarks Distortions Angle of intersections Elastic mile: make things farther or to close apart Size estimate errors: tend to overestimate the size of something if we know it well or we like it Augmentation: adding features that don't really exist, that aren't really there, you expect it to be there so you put it in
Cognitive mapping includes: Acquiring spatial information Storing spatial information Decoding spatial information: when you actually want to use it
Two main types of spatial knowledge: Survey knowledge: memory of relationships between locations, more of a gestalt view Route knowledge: sequence in memory about how to get from a starting location to a next place Depends on the person and the particular environments Questions How much of cognitive mapping is learned through experience? Most of it. How is learning from physical maps different from actually moving through the environment? North and South How do we develop a cognitive map? Developing cognitive maps One view: we create a complete internal representation of a spatial area in question Alternate view: we process environmental cures as we move through a space Differences in Cognitive Maps Do some people have special cognitive mapping abilities? Familiarity & experience Age differences -Nature of cognitive maps changes with development -Spatial skills may decline with age: decrease in ability to inhibit irrelevant information Harder to keep out things we don't need Cognitive Maps Gender differences -Cognitive maps are equally accurate, but stylistically different -Women include more districts/landmarks, while men focus on path structure -Local features (ecocentric/landmarks) vs. global perspective (allocentric/survey knowledge strategy) More allocentric-men More ecocentric-women Preference -Both men & women can give & use directions in various ways, but men are more likely to use compass directions & distance estimates, while women are more likely to focus on landmarks Genetic vs. social Orientation & Wayfinding Orientation: The process of locating where we are at and deciding where to go next Wayfinding: The process of getting from where you are at to a planned destination Wayfinding includes: 1. Orienting to where you are at that moment 2. Selecting a route 3. Monitoring the route 4. Recognizing the destination Cognitive Mapping & Wayfinding We may process information at transition points that provide "on the spot" guidance Cab drivers can often draw poor maps, but can find a location by " I know when I get there" wayfinding
Research by Heft compared -vistas only -transitions only -complete film of a route Results: found that sequence of transition points is very important Assisting Cognitive Mapping & Wayfinding Integrate information, like signs, into transition points You want signs there, at transition points Use some redundancy (more than repetition) Develop integrated information systems using key words, maps, graphics, and color Employ you-are-here (YAH) maps Improving YAH maps Psychologist Levine has developed a number of ideas: Label parts in a consistent & understandable manner Provide orientation by creating map parallel to the ground or using "Forward-up" equivalence Use Structure-Matching when possible -At least 2 features in the map should match 2 features in the environment Question How do you think common use of GPS satellite navigation systems could affect wayfinding strategies and cognitive mapping?