Spatial Distortions in Cognitive Maps — a Chance and Challenge to Enrich the Principles of Map Design

Räumliche Verzerrungen in kognitiven Karten — Eine Chance und Herausforderung zur Erweiterung der Prinzipien der Kartenkonstruktion

Abstract

Cognitive maps have been dealt with in a remarkable number of studies. By today, it has been shown that spatial judgements based on information learned from maps are systematically distorted. These findings of cognitive psychology, however, have not been taken on board in the theory of map design. The aim of a current interdisciplinary DFG-funded project is to identify and optimise the design of specific map features in order to reduce the perception-based distortion errors people learn from cartographic maps and store in their cognitive maps. This paper presents the approach of this project after giving a brief overview of the most relevant spatial distortions identified by today. In addition, the results of a first empirical study are shared and discussed.

Zusammenfassung

Forschungsprojekte zu kognitiven Karten haben gezeigt, dass räumliche Aussagen, die auf zuvor gelernten Karteninformationen beruhen, systematisch verzerrt sind. Diese Erkenntnisse aus der Wahrnehmungspsychologie wurden jedoch bis heute nicht verwendet, um die Theorie der kartographischen Gestaltungslehre auszubauen. Das Ziel eines aktuellen interdisziplinären DFGProjekts an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum ist es, die Gestaltung spezifischer Kartenelemente zu identifizieren und optimieren, um wahrnehmungsbasierte Verzerrungsfehler, die Menschen über kartographische Darstellungen aufnehmen und in ihren kognitiven Karten speichern, minimieren zu können. Ausgehend von den wichtigsten räumlichen Verzerrungen, welche die Kognitionswissenschaft bis heute feststellen konnte, werden der Forschungsansatz des Projekts vorgestellt und erste Ergebnisse einer empirischen Studie diskutiert.

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Correspondence to Frank Dickmann.

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Prof. Dr. Frank Dickmann is a professor of Cartography and Geo-Information Science at the Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB).

Dennis Edler, M.Sc., is a Ph.D. student (supervised by Professor Dickmann) and works as a research fellow in the Geomatics Group of RUB’s Geography Department.

Anne-Kathrin Bestgen, M.Sc., is a Ph.D. student (supervised by Professor Kuchinke) and works as a research fellow in RUB’s Psychology Department.

Lars Kuchinke is Junior Professor of Experimental Psychology in RUB’s Psychology Department.

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Dickmann, F., Edler, D., Bestgen, A. et al. Spatial Distortions in Cognitive Maps — a Chance and Challenge to Enrich the Principles of Map Design. j. Cartogr. Geogr. inf. 63, 174–181 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03546131

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Keywords

  • cognitive maps
  • spatial distortion errors
  • empirical cartography
  • information transfer
  • map communication

Schlüsselwörter

  • Kognitive Karten
  • räumliche Distanzverzerrungen
  • empirische Kartographie
  • Informationsvermittlung
  • kartographische Kommunikation