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How are Geographical Judgements and a Geographical Entity's Shape Connected in Cognitive Mapping?

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Systematic distortions in cognitive representations of spatial relations between geographic objects (e.g. cities) and their superordinate geographical entity's shape (e.g. country), as revealed primarily through geographic judgement and the drawing of maps, respectively, have been discussed in isolation until now. In this paper we argue that the types of distortions arising may be related to one another. We base our arguments on two experiments conducted using the map of Israel. In the first experiment, participants estimated directions between selected cities. In the second, they were asked to draw the boundaries of Israel while indicating the country's geographical shape and locating the same cities on the drawn map. The study findings indicate a clear correspondence between systematic distortions in direction estimations between cities and in perception of the shape of the country's area, reflected in the directions between the cities as drawn on the maps. These findings indicate that representations of spatial relations between geographic locations are associated with the perception of their superordinate geographical entity's shape (e.g. country).

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2018

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