Finding your way: The cognitive science of navigation


One overarching research question in cognitive science concerns how information from perception and memory is processed and integrated in order to achieve robust, efficient, and adaptive behaviour in space, as is necessary in wayfinding. Examining this integration is quite complicated, entailing an understanding of learning strategies, spatial memory representations of static and dynamic relations, perceptual and attentional processes that direct the encoding and maintenance of select information, reasoning and planning processes, communication of spatial information via language or other representational media, the influence of background knowledge, and the development of navigation plans. Due to the complexity of the problem, research in navigation cuts across a diverse set of disciplines, including cognitive psychology, linguistics, computer science, robotics, environmental psychology, developmental psychology, and geography, and ranges from basic research questions to practical applications. This symposium presents research from across these disciplines, and provides a diversified overview of the range of issues involved.

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