07 March 2008


A map is a representation that displays spatial relations of the spatial environment, whether the map is a material object (a cartographic map) or a mental map (a cognized representation).

I am doubtful that humans have mental “maps” in storage somewhere in the brain (even though the posterior hippocampus has been isolated as the brain area that “stores” spatial information, actually memories). Perhaps spatial memory is conjured up as a schema to produce a useful cognized representation. There is no “map” stored, just memories of spatial relations. Thus it might be more accurate to say humans possess not mental maps, but perform “mental mapping” as a potential process, an activity waiting to be run.

Buckminster Fuller said, “I seem to be a verb.” In this line of thinking, humans experience the spatial environment, they record that information as brain pathways, and they map when needed.

We have mapped, we shall map. We are mapping.

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