Conference paper Open Access

Place and Placing Locations: A Cognitive Perspective

Davies, Clare

Understanding and modelling places is an interdisciplinary problem, and one relevant but easily overlooked discipline is cognitive science. Many of the findings and intuitions that geographers and geographic information scientists have developed imply that places (at least, those that subtend a geographic area and do not have sharply defined boundaries) have a specific role and structure in human cognition: one of categorizing contiguous and semantically related locations, to optimize cognitive economy and efficiency. Thus “place”, in this sense, is a classification heuristic. This short paper will outline some of the new research questions that arise if we take this perspective on places, and suggest that computational and/or statistical models will need to be supplemented and “ground truthed” by human-participants work for useful progress to be made.

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