The Stream of Spatial Information: Spanning the Space of Spatial Relational Models

AbstractGiven identical informational content, the order in which you receive spatial information may heavily influence the correctness of your mental representation. This can reveal important insights into the specifics of human spatial cognition and the way we integrate information. Despite its importance in everyday life, its causes and the mental processes involved still remain an open question. Most cognitive models so far have focused on modeling only answer distributions or just the most frequent answer given by all participants. In this paper we take a rather radical approach: We turn to the individual spatial reasoner and focus our analyses on the stream of spatial information and related reaction times, i.e., how the spatial information is represented and cognitively processed. By spanning a space of 243 cognitive spatial models, some of which outperform the current state-of-the art models, it is possible to test the goodness of general principles underlying such models.

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