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Neurofuzzy Modeling of Context–Contingent Proximity Relations

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The notion of proximity is one of the foundational elements in humans' understanding and reasoning of the geographical environments. The perception and cognition of distances plays a significant role in many daily human activities. Yet, few studies have thus far provided context–contingent translation mechanisms between linguistic proximity descriptors (e.g., “near,”“far”) and metric distance measures. One problem with previous fuzzy logic proximity modeling studies is that they presume the form of the fuzzy membership functions of proximity relations. Another problem is that previous studies have fundamental weaknesses in considering context factors in proximity models. We argue that statistical approaches are ill suited to proximity modeling because of the inherently fuzzy nature of the relations between linguistic and metric distance measures. In this study, we propose a neurofuzzy system approach to solve this problem. The approach allows for the dynamic construction of context–contingent proximity models based on sample data. An empirical case study with human subject survey data is carried out to test the validity of the approach and to compare it with the previous statistical approach. Interpretation and prediction accuracy of the empirical study are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 2: Department of Geography, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Amherst, NY

Publication date: 2007-04-01

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