Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Topographical Disorientation

  • John E. MendozaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_805


Geographical disorientation


Difficulty in negotiating familiar external spaces, verbally describing their physical layout or relative spatial relationships, or creating topographical maps, such as the floor plan of one’s house or describing the major thoroughfares of their city.

Current Knowledge

Although often honed to a much finer degree in the blind, people typically have reasonably good mental maps of the physical layouts of familiar areas. Such maps enable them to negotiate their way around their house at night when the electricity goes off or to travel from one part of the city to another, especially when forced to take a different route because of road closures. In its most basic form, topographical orientation represents a mental blueprint that allows an individual to appreciate from memory, landmarks, the location of routes, places or objects relative to others, as well as direction sense, including relative distances involved. Topographical disorientation...

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References and Readings

  1. Aguirre, G. K., & D’Esposito, M. (1999). Topographical disorientation: A synthesis and taxonomy. Brain, 122, 1613–1628.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Barrash, J. (1998). A historical review of topographical disorientation and its neuroanatomical correlates. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 20, 807–827.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Brunsdon, R., Nickels, L., & Coltheart, M. (2007). Topographical disorientation: Towards an integrated framework for assessment. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 17, 34–52.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and NeuroscienceTulane Medical School and SE Louisiana Veterans Healthcare SystemNew OrleansUSA