Daniel R. Montello's research while affiliated with University of California, Santa Barbara and other places

Publications (108)

Article
The Mercator effect is the widespread and persistent belief among cartographers and others that people’s global-scale cognitive maps are distorted in a particular way because of their exposure to world maps displayed with the common Mercator projection. In particular, such exposure has been claimed to lead people to believe that polar regions, such...
Article
In this commentary on Fernandez Velasco and Casati’s “Subjective Disorientation as a Metacognitive Feeling” in this journal, I take issue with their distinction between “the objective condition of being lost and the subjective condition of disorientation”. Instead, I argue that being lost is geographic disorientation, and in all cases, it depends o...
Conference Paper
The great majority of work in spatial cognition has taken an individual approach to the study of wayfinding, isolating the planning and decision-making process of a single navigating entity. The study we present here expands our understanding of human navigation as it unfolds in a social context, common to real-world scenarios. We investigate pedes...
Article
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We discuss the important, but greatly under-researched, topic of the social aspects of human wayfinding during navigation. Wayfinding represents the planning and decision-making component of navigation and is arguably among the most common, real-world domains of both individual and group-level decision making. We highlight the myriad ways that wayf...
Article
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The neighbourhood has long been studied in fi elds such as geography, sociology, political science, and urban planning as a meaningful unit of analysis, with deep connections for residents, but an ever-shifting form. This study expands on foundational research about geographic regions (particularly informal or cognitive regions), sense of place, an...
Article
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, cognitive science was included as one of the key disciplines in the emerging multidisciplinary field of geographic information science (GIScience). One of the key proponents and popularizers of the study of human cognition as part of GIScience – and one of its major researchers – has been Andrew U. Frank. In t...
Article
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People’s impression of their own “sense-of-direction” (SOD) is related to their ability to effectively find their way through environments, such as neighborhoods and cities, but is also related to the speed and accuracy with which they learn new environments. In the current literature, it is unclear whether the cognitive skills underlying SOD requi...
Article
When deciding where to draw the boundaries for electoral districts, officials often strive to ensure that communities of interest are not split up but kept wholly within those boundaries. But what constitutes a community of interest is vague, with legal and academic sources describing either a thematic region with shared demographic and land-use tr...
Chapter
Geographers describe, predict, and explain human activity on the Earth. The concept of spatial behavior highlights the geographer's focus on the spatial and temporal aspects of this activity. An important way to understand spatial behavior is to understand the human thought and reasoning partially underlying it, including the subjective mental repr...
Article
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Cognitive regions and places are notoriously difficult to represent in geographic information science and systems. The exact delineation of cognitive regions is challenging insofar as borders are vague, membership within the regions varies non-monotonically, and raters cannot be assumed to assess membership consistently and homogeneously. In a stud...
Article
In this discussion essay, I contend that the role of landmarks is exaggerated in basic and applied spatial cognition research. Specifically, I discuss empirical and theoretical arguments consistent with two claims. First, the word landmark is a label for several different concepts, although its precise reference in a particular context is rarely sp...
Chapter
Spatial cognition researchers study perception, thinking, reasoning, and communication that is fundamentally about spatial properties in the environment, whether built or natural. Given its multidisciplinary heritage, spatial cognition research involves a great variety of methodological approaches. This chapter reviews the study of human spatial co...
Article
Spatial cognition concerns the study of knowledge and beliefs about spatial properties of objects and events in the world, and as such objects and events are represented in maps, language, and other symbol systems. Geographers study spatial cognition to address questions such as how spatial knowledge and beliefs are acquired and develop over time;...
Article
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This paper reports on three experiments that examined the contributions of spatial ability, spatial strategies, and external animations to performance in the mental representation of cross sections. Method In each experiment, participants were asked to mentally represent key spatial relationships in cross sections of an imaginary 3D object displaye...
Article
Previous research has examined heuristics—simplified decision-making rules-of-thumb—for geospatial reasoning. This study examined at two locations the influence of beliefs about local coastline orientation on estimated directions to local and distant places; estimates were made immediately or after fifteen seconds. This study goes beyond well-known...
Conference Paper
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Spatialized views use visuo-spatial metaphors to facilitate sense-making from complex non-spatial databases. Spatialization typically includes the projection of a high-dimensional (non-spatial) data space onto a lower dimensional display space for visual data exploration. In comparison to 2D spatialized displays, 3D displays could potentially conve...
Article
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Cognitive regions are regions in the mind, reflecting informal ways individuals and cultural groups organize their understanding of earth landscapes. Cognitive region boundaries are typically substantially vague and their membership functions are substantially variable - the transition from outside to inside the region is imprecise or vague, and di...
Article
An understanding of spatial cognition or knowledge is key to architecture.Here Daniel R Montello, Professor of Geography and Affiliated Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), explains the significance of cognitive structures and processes for understanding, perceiving, imagining and design...
Article
Research on frames in climate change (CC) news coverage has advanced substantially over the past decade, but the emerging understanding of the framing role of visual imagery that often accompanies news texts remains fragmented. We report on a set of image frames identified through content analysis of 350 images associated with 200 news articles fro...
Chapter
Spatialized views use visuo-spatial metaphors to facilitate sense-making from complex non-spatial databases. Spatialization typically includes the projection of a high-dimensional (non-spatial) data space onto a lower dimensional display space for visual data exploration. In comparison to 2D spatialized displays, 3D displays could potentially conve...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we analyze a corpus of route directions given while viewing simple maps, focusing on the conceptualization of direction changes at decision points. We address the variability of conceptualizations underlying turning actions at decision points as well as the level of detail given to specify actions, and we propose a systematic approac...
Article
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We conducted 3 experiments to examine the category adjustment model (Huttenlocher, Hedges, & Duncan, 1991) in circumstances in which the category boundaries were irregular schematized polygons made from outlines of maps. For the first time, accuracy was tested when only perceptual and/or existing long-term memory information about identical locatio...
Article
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This symposium will address how the breadth of investigation within the cognitive sciences can be brought to bear on applied everyday common problems, such as difficulties with reading charts and maps, and difficulties in using an in-car navigation device. Research with a problem-based focus often requires a systems approach that requires assimilat...
Conference Paper
We analyze self-reported sense-of-direction in samples of people from Santa Barbara, Freiburg, Saarbrücken, Tokyo, and Beijing. The Santa Barbara Sense-of-Direction Scale (SBSOD) by Hegarty and colleagues primarily assesses survey spatial abilities in directly-experienced environments. It was translated into German, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese....
Article
In this article, I define you-are-here (YAH) maps and consider their funda-mental characteristics from cartographic and psychological perspectives. I then review the basic phenomenon of the alignment effect, including why it happens and how it may be overcome; I also consider exceptions to the alignment effect. Finally, I briefly note some special...
Conference Paper
I review theories and research on the cognitive processing of environmental distance information by humans, particularly that acquired via direct experience in the environment. The cognitive processes I consider for acquiring and thinking about environmental distance information include working-memory, nonmediated, hybrid, and simple-retrieval proc...
Article
In this article, recent achievements of cognitive research in geographic information science (GIScience) are reviewed and prospects for future directions discussed. Cognitive research in GIScience concerns human knowledge and knowing involving geographic information and geographic information systems (GIS). It includes both internal mental and exte...
Article
For global-scale geographic information, there are relatively few sources that can be used to form or structure a cognitive map. One of the most common sources for this information is maps, the only reference that permits an individual a comprehensive view of the world without having to integrate information from multiple views (e.g., stitching tog...
Article
In two studies with a total of 324 participants, dentistry students were assessed on psychometric measures of spatial ability, reasoning ability, and on new measures of the ability to infer the appearance of a cross-section of a three-dimensional (3-D) object. We examined how these abilities and skills predict success in dental education programs,...
Article
The landscape metaphor was one of the first methods used by the information visualization community to reorganize and depict document archives that are not inherently spatial. The motivation for the use of the landscape metaphor is that everyone intuitively understands landscapes. We critically examine the information visualization designer’s ontolo...
Article
Three experiments examined the effects of interactive visualizations and spatial abilities on a task requiring participants to infer and draw cross sections of a three-dimensional (3D) object. The experiments manipulated whether participants could interactively control a virtual 3D visualization of the object while performing the task, and compared...
Article
Full-text available
Many information visualization designers reason that since we live in a 3D world, we should be able to convey more information in displays that take full advantage of all three spatial dimensions, rather than restricting ourselves to just two (Wise, 1999). To this day there has been little empirical evidence whether a potential information increase...
Article
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Supported by eye-movement data collected during a controlled experiment on small-multiple map displays, a new concept coined inference affordance aimed at overcoming drawbacks of traditional empirical 'success' measures when evaluating static visual analytics displays and interactive visual analytics tools is proposed. Then, a novel visual analytic...
Article
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We investigate the relationship of perceived distances to judged similarities between document points in various types of spatialized displays. Our findings suggest that the distance–similarity relationship is not as self-evident to viewers as is commonly assumed in the information visualization literature. We further investigate how participants i...
Article
Three experiments examined the effects of interactive visualizations and spatial abilities on a task requiring participants to infer and draw cross sections of a three-dimensional (3D) object. The experiments manipulated whether participants could interactively control a virtual 3D visualization of the object while performing the task, and compared...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper discusses the conceptualization of turn directions along traveled routes. Foremost, we are interested in the influence that language has on the conceptualization of turn directions. Two experiments are presented that contrast the way people group turns into similarity classes when they expect to verbally label the turns, as compared to w...
Article
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In this chapter, we first review previous literature demonstrating the role of spatial thinking in medical performance and training. We then out­ line the general approach of our research group to studying spatial cog­ nition in medicine and describe progress on two current projects, one concerning the role of spatial thinking in laparoscopic surge...
Article
The study of the interrelationships of human mind and behavior with the physical environment may be referred to as "environmental psychology" (or "behavioral geography," "the psychology of space and place," etc.). In my talk, I review elements of a comprehensive theory of environmental psychology. The theoretical framework of space syntax holds pro...
Book
This is the fifth volume in a series of book publications featuring basic interdisciplinary research in spatial cognition. The study of spatial cognition is the study of knowledge about spatial properties of objects and events in the world. Spatial properties include location, size, distance, direction, separation and connection, shape, pattern, an...
Article
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Region-display spatializations represent documents metaphorically as points within regions. Semantic interrelatedness is expressed by some combination of interpoint distance and region membership. In two experiments, the authors investigate judgments of document similarity as a function of these variables. Distance matters, but region membership la...
Article
We examined changes in performance as people learned to use an angled laparoscope, a challenging spatial skill that must be mastered by surgeons who perform minimally invasive techniques. In Experiment 1, novices took tests of spatial and general reasoning ability, and then learned to operate an angled laparoscope, simulated in a virtual environmen...
Article
Existing frameworks for explaining spatial knowledge acquisition in a new environment propose either stage-like or continuous development. To examine the spatial microgenesis of individuals, a longitudinal study was conducted. Twenty-four college students were individually driven along two routes in a previously unfamiliar neighborhood over 10 week...
Article
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The authors examined whether absolute and relative judgments about global-scale locations and distances were generated from common representations. At the end of a 10-week class on the regional geography of the United States, participants estimated the latitudes of 16 North American cities and all possible pairwise distances between them. Although...
Article
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We travel through the environment to reach places that satisfy our needs and wants. Successful travel requires that we know where to go and how to get there; it also requires that we can move along the intended route in the intended direction without having accidents or getting unnecessarily delayed. Taken together, these are requirements of naviga...
Article
Most psychometric tests of spatial ability are paper-and-pencil tasks at the “figural” scale of space, in that they involve inspecting, imagining or mentally transforming small shapes or manipulable objects. Environmental spatial tasks, such as wayfinding or learning the layout of a building or city, are carried out in larger spaces that surround t...
Article
Gould and White (1968) introduced the measurement and isoline mapping of regional preferences, producing preference or “isoeutope” maps. As cartographers know, the decision to employ isoline mapping as a cartographic display technique is valid insofar as certain assumptions are met, notably the assumption that the variable being mapped reflects an...
Chapter
This paper explores the possibility of organizing map design around conceptual spatial representations (CSRs). CSR refers to a mental representation that is instantiated in interaction with a spatial environment, a spatial representational medium, and/or while solving spatial problems. For this approach we coin the term cognitive conceptual. We det...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper explores the possibility of organizing map design around conceptual spatial representations (CSRs). CSR refers to a mental representation that is instantiated in interaction with a spatial environment, a spatial representational medium, and/or while solving spatial problems. For this approach we coin the term cognitive conceptual. We det...
Article
Dimensionality reduction algorithms are applied in the field of information visualization to generate low-dimensional, visuo-spatial displays of complex, multivariate databases - spatializations. Most popular dimensionality reduction algorithms project relatedness in data content among entities in an information space (e.g., semantic similarity) on...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Spatializations are computer visualizations in which nonspatial information is depicted spatially. Spatializations of large databases commonly use distance as a metaphor to depict semantic (nonspatial) similarities among data items. By analogy to the "first law of geography", which states that closer things tend to be more similar, we propose a "fi...
Article
Humans think and talk about regions and spatial relations imprecisely, in terms of vague concepts that are fuzzy or probabilistic (e.g., downtown, near). The functionality of geographic information systems will be increased if they can interpret vague queries. We discuss traditional and newer approaches to defining and modeling spatial queries. Mos...
Chapter
Spatializations are computer visualizations in which nonspatial information is depicted spatially. Spatializations of large databases commonly use distance as a metaphor to depict semantic (nonspatial) similarities among data items. By analogy to the “first law of geography”, which states that closer things tend to be more similar, we propose a “fi...
Article
This article examines the degree to which knowledge about the body's orientation affects transformations in spatial memory and whether memories are accessed with a preferred orientation. Participants learned large paths from a single viewpoint and were later asked to make judgments of relative directions from imagined positions on the path. Experim...
Article
This article examines the degree to which knowledge about the body's orientation affects transformations in spatial memory and whether memories are accessed with a preferred orientation. Participants learned large paths from a single viewpoint and were later asked to make judgments of relative directions from imagined positions on the path. Experim...
Article
Environmental spatial abilities are involved in everyday tasks such as finding one's way in the environment and learning the layout of a new environment. Self-report measures of environmental abilities, e.g., asking people to rate their “sense of direction (SOD),” have been found to predict objective measures of these abilities quite highly. In thi...
Article
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This paper outlines an experimental design to answer above research questions. Empirical results are presented on how people decode three proximity types utilized to represent semantic relatedness in a database of Reuters news stories. The construction of the semantic news wire space follows ontological modeling principles of generalization, associ...
Article
Cognitive map-design research has the goal of understanding human cognition in order to improve the design and use of maps. As a systematic sub-discipline of cartography, cognitive map-design research is a phenomenon of the twentieth century, specifically the latter half. Robinson's The Look of Maps, published in 1952, played a seminal role in the...
Article
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We provide a research agenda for the International Cartographic Association s Commission on Visualization and Virtual Environment working group on Cognitive and Usability Issues in Geovisualization. Developments in hardware and software have led to (and will continue to stimulate) novel methods for visualizing geospatial data. It is our belief that...
Article
On average, males have reliably been found to outperform females on several traditional psychometric tests of spatial ability, especially those involving a component of mental rotation. The evidence is much less clear and complete with respect to performance on larger-scale and more ecologically valid tasks generally associated with geographic inve...
Conference Paper
Route directions are instructions, primarily verbal, that explain how to get from one place to another. The current study examines several methods for assessing the quality of verbal route directions by characterizing them in terms of the number of elements (such as landmarks, segments or turns) and by subjective ratings of their goodness. Route di...
Article
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In this study, the nature of the spatial representations of an environment acquired from maps, navigation, and virtual environments (VEs) was assessed. Participants first learned the layout of a simple desktop VE and then were tested in that environment. Then, participants learned two floors of a complex building in one of three learning conditions...
Article
A central issue for researchers of human spatial knowledge, whether focused on perceptually guided action or cognitive-map acquisition, is knowledge of egocentric directions, directions from the body to objects and places. Several methods exist for measuring this knowledge. We compared two particularly important methods, manual pointing with a dial...
Conference Paper
Three forms of uncertainty have been discussed in the context of geographic information systems: in positions of features, in attributes, and due to generalization. A fourth type occurs with uncertain footprints in digital spatial data libraries, when location is used as the primary key to drive search and retrieval. The concept of a geolibrary is...
Conference Paper
Research on direct sources of information for the perception and cognition of environmental distance is reviewed. Environmental distances are relatively large and cannot be perceived in entirety from a single place.Directly-acquired knowledge of environmental distance is based on the sensorimotor apprehension of information fromthe body or from the...
Chapter
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Researchers from a variety of disciplines have proposed models of human spatial knowledge and reasoning in order to explain spatial behavior in environmental spaces, such as buildings, neighborhoods, and cities. A common component of these models is a set of hypotheses about the geometry of spatial knowledge, particularly with respect to the roles...
Conference Paper
In this essay, I critically discuss ideas about cultural differences in spatial cognition. A critique of the traditional empiricist framework for understanding the development of cognitive structures and processes is described. An evolutionary framework is provided as an alternative. The ambiguity between culture-related and culturally caused diffe...
Article
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Two experiments were conducted to examine the recall of information from natural landscapes and topographic maps. In Experiment 1, the nature of information recalled from photos of landscape scenes by experienced and novice topographic-map readers was influenced by the performance of a map-matching task, but did not vary much as a function of exper...
Article
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As people move through an environment, they typically change both their heading and their location relative to the surrounds. During such changes, people update their changing orientations with respect to surrounding objects. People can also update after only imagining such typical movements, but not as quickly or accurately as after actual movemen...
Conference Paper
The importance of scale to the psychology of space (perception, thinking, memory, behavior) is discussed. It is maintained that scale has an important influence on how humans treat spatial information and that several qualitatively distinct scale classes of space exist. Past systems of classification are reviewed and some novel terms and distinctio...
Article
The acquisition and integration of configurational knowledge of spatial layout was studied in a large building complex containing several levels. Twenty-four college students learned two separate routes by walking around the complex; the two were located one above the other, although this was not visibly apparent. Subjects were then given a descrip...
Article
Full-text available
Earlier theorists assumed that exposure to physical attractiveness leads to pleasant affect. However this relationship might hold only for judgments of the opposite sex. In this study, subjects exposed to opposite-sex photos showed a pattern consistent with the affect-attraction model: highest mood after attractive faces but lower mood if the serie...
Article
Refutes the claim by C. I. Brooks and J. L. Rebeta (see record 1991-25874-001) that classroom seating location affects course achievement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Conference Paper
Theoretical and empirical work on the geometry of environmental knowledge is discussed. Certain patterns of distanc.e and directional estimates collected from humans have been interpreted as being due to non-metric or non-Euclidean spatial knowledge. I argue that attempts to determine this geometry are inconsistent with existing theoretical models...
Article
Cognitive distances are mental representations of large-scale environmental distances that cannot be perceived from a single vantage point but require movement through the environment for their apprehension. A comprehensive review of techniques for measuring cognitive distance is organized around five classes of methods: ratio scaling, interval/ord...
Article
The influence of route angularity on the spatial orientation of pedestrians navigating in an urban field setting was examined. Sixty pedestrians were stopped at one of three locations in the same neighborhood, one on a street orthogonal to the local grid pattern and two on streets oblique to the local grid pattern. They were asked to point to sever...
Article
Memory forturns of varying angularity encountered during pathway traversal was examined in a within-subjects design. Subjects walked eleven 8.3 m pathways, each containing one turn ranging in size from 150 to 1650 from the direction of forward motion. After each pathway traversalubjects were required to estimate the angle traversed, point to the or...
Article
Discusses the role of landmarks as points of reference in the psychological development of spatial orientation (finding a way, updating, and route following) and the representation of spatial knowledge. Different definitions of the construct of landmark are presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Research was reviewed on whether seating location in lecture-style classrooms influences college course grades. Empirical evidence suggests that it does not, or that the influence is so weak as to be of little general theoretical or practical importance. Empirical evidence also suggests, however, that seating location influences class participation...

Citations

... Like the map drawing task, these tasks are also subject to influences of the responding processes beyond the representation itself such as inferences, reasoning, and strategies, and violations of Euclidean principles do not necessarily reflect the nature of the underlying spatial representations (McNamara & Diwadkar, 1997;Montello & Battersby, 2022;Sampaio & Wang, 2009;Widdowson & Wang, 2022, etc.). Moreover, like the map drawing task, these tasks also don't necessarily rely on existing representations, and solutions may be calculated/constructed a posteriori during the responding process. ...
... Finally, the fourth phase, the big data era (2000 until now) is when the human mind can no longer handle the amount of increasing information, developed technologies and geospatial science. Since then, geodesign is focused more on design scenarios evaluation and impact assessment (Crooks, 2013;Li & Milburn, 2016;Schwarz-v. Raumer & Stokman, 2011). ...
... When medical procedures are performed, health professionals rely on the mental representations they have to understand complex internal structures that are not directly visible on the skin. During their training as physicians, this knowledge of spatial relationships is acquired through analyzing photographs and medical images such as tomography, magnetic resonance, radiography and ultrasound [10]. These images are two-dimensional representations generated from different diagnostic technologies. ...
... In studies on London taxi drivers, emotion was identified as a key thought category when recalling journeys through virtual London (Spiers & Maguire, 2008). There appears to be evidence for the emotional nature of human wayfinding, as well as the existence of specifically spatial affective states, such as disorientation, agoraphobia or the aha! experience that comes with sudden reorientation (Charalambous, Hanna, & Penn, 2021;Jeffery, 2019;Fernández Velasco & Casati, 2020;Montello, 2020;Sternberg & Wilson, 2006). What such studies so far have neglected is the potential impact of both affect and arousal. ...
... While colors can encode semantic meaning, colors can also carry affective connotations. Map colors can be operationalized to evoke specific emotions when reading the map (Montello et al. 2018). More specifically, while emotionally consistent colors amplify the impact of map themes, emotional inconsistencies can confuse map readers (Anderson 2018). ...