Grid or no grid: Distance distortion in recognizing spatial information from complex cartographic maps


Mental representations of environments are embodied in cognitive maps. Cognitive maps enclose spatial and distance distortions, which appear due to transcription errors based on processing of map information. Participants processed complex cartographical maps of varying amounts of visual details like topography, boundaries and grid to examine their effects on recall and orientation performance. The results indicate that the presentation of boundaries, topographies and a square grid significantly reduced distortion errors compared to a blank map, whereas a presentation of more than one visual element did not further reduce the distortions.

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