Standard Article

Cognitive Maps

  1. Reginald Golledge

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0196

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Golledge, R. 2010. Cognitive Maps. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of California Santa Barbara

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Cognitive mapping is the process of encoding sensed data and storing, decoding, representing, and internally manipulating these data in working memory for use in completing tasks or solving problems. A cognitive map is a hypothetical concept constructed from one's experiences in the real world. The concept is hypothetical because, as yet, there is no evidence that environmental information is stored in memory in a cartographic-like fashion, but it does appear that, on an as-needed basis, an individual can draw on these encoded data and create a working image to assist in performing certain spatial tasks or solving spatial problems. To do this requires knowledge of location, place, environmental objects, and spatial relations.


  • spatial relations;
  • mental representations;
  • mental maps;
  • neural networks