Learning Spatial Information from Maps: Can Orientation‐Specificity Be Overcome?

Alan M. MacEachren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Maps that facilitate learning and navigating through an environment will influence the form and content of cognitive representations developed of that environment. Cognitive representations derived from maps have been demonstrated to exhibit orientation‐specificity, a bias toward the orientation at which the map was studied, while cognitive representations derived directly from the environment appear to be orientation‐free. An experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that multi‐orientation map presentation can eliminate the usual orientation‐specificity. Results support the hypothesis but suggest that elimination of orientation‐specificity will come at the cost of decreased accuracy in the cognitive representation obtained and/or slower access to the stored information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-443
Number of pages13
JournalThe Professional Geographer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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