Cognitive Map

A cognitive map is a type of mental representation which serves an individual to acquire, code, store, recall, and decode information about the relative locations and attributes of phenomena in their everyday or metaphorical spatial environment. The concept was introduced by Edward Tolman in 1948. A recent study argues that cognitive map, or the image of the city in particular, comes out of the underlying scaling of far more small things than large ones. In essence, those largest things constitute the cognitive map. To remind, the scaling of far more small things than large ones should be interpreted broadly, e.g., far more unpopular things than popular things topologically, or far more meaningless things than meaningful things semantically. Thus those largest, popular, and/or meaningful things constitute the cognitive map. Cognitive maps have been studied in various fields, such as psychology, education, archaeology, planning, geography, cartography, architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, management and history. As a consequence, these mental models are often referred to, variously, as cognitive maps, mental maps, scripts, schemata, and frames of reference.