Eye Movements Reflect Reasoning with Mental Images but Not with Mental Models in Orientation Knowledge Tasks

  • Jan Frederik Sima
  • Maren Lindner
  • Holger Schultheis
  • Thomas Barkowsky
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6222)


This paper presents results showing that eye movements reflect spatial relations in mental images but not in mental models during nearly similar reasoning tasks with directions. These results contribute to the distinction between mental models and mental images based on eye movements. This differentiation may be applied in the field of human-computer interaction and intelligent assistance systems. We conducted two experiments about reasoning with cardinal directions employing three-term series problems in the form of: “X is southwest of Z; Y is east of X; as seen from Z, where is Y?” The results replicate, to some extent, previous findings about preferred mental models. Additionally, the results indicate that these preferences are susceptible to details of the instructions of the experiment.


Mental Model Mental Image Mental Imagery Spatial Cognition Reasoning Task 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Frederik Sima
    • 1
  • Maren Lindner
    • 1
  • Holger Schultheis
    • 1
  • Thomas Barkowsky
    • 1
  1. 1.SFB/TR 8 Spatial CognitionUniversität BremenBremenGermany

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