NavTalk - Overview

Cognitive Maps of Buildings for Navigation and Communication


The project addresses the significance of humans' cognitive maps of buildings for navigation by systematically investigating wayfinding behavior and linguistic production in parallel. This symmetric approach will highlight how different representations and externalizations of thought processes reflect human understanding of spatial relationships in indoor environments in relation to their strategies in navigating and describing them. Previous research provides only limited insight about cognitive maps of buildings; however, a vast resource of findings and established methodological paradigms from closely related areas in spatial cognition can be drawn upon and re-instantiated to expand our knowledge in this under-researched area. Such relevant work includes findings on cognitive maps and navigation in outdoor areas, spatial strategies in wayfinding problems, conceptual reference frames, the relationship between spatial language and local spatial configurations, as well as between language, thought, and memory with respect to route planning and route descriptions; and other findings that ultimately come into play when building up a cognitive map of any spatial environment and then acting in it on this basis, as well as describing it for the benefit of others or simply thinking aloud.