Representations and Processes of Human Spatial Competence
Article first published online: 4 AUG 2011
Copyright © 2011 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Topics in Cognitive Science
Volume 3, Issue 4, pages 741–759, October 2011
How to Cite
Gunzelmann, G. and Lyon, D. R. (2011), Representations and Processes of Human Spatial Competence. Topics in Cognitive Science, 3: 741–759. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2011.01153.x
- Issue published online: 11 OCT 2011
- Article first published online: 4 AUG 2011
- Received 4 December 2009; received in revised form 9 January 2011; accepted 1 February 2011
- Spatial cognition;
- Spatial visualization;
- Reference frames;
- Cognitive architecture;
- Computational model
This article presents an approach to understanding human spatial competence that focuses on the representations and processes of spatial cognition and how they are integrated with cognition more generally. The foundational theoretical argument for this research is that spatial information processing is central to cognition more generally, in the sense that it is brought to bear ubiquitously to improve the adaptivity and effectiveness of perception, cognitive processing, and motor action. We describe research spanning multiple levels of complexity to understand both the detailed mechanisms of spatial cognition, and how they are utilized in complex, naturalistic tasks. In the process, we discuss the critical role of cognitive architectures in developing a consistent account that spans this breadth, and we note some areas in which the current version of a popular architecture, ACT-R, may need to be augmented. Finally, we suggest a framework for understanding the representations and processes of spatial competence and their role in human cognition generally.