On Thursday 18th January 2024, 3.30 pm CET, Professor Russell Epstein (University of Pennsylvania, PA, USA) will give a talk in our Mind Meeting Seminar Series entitled “Structuring the cognitive map”.
The talk will take place virtually via Zoom. Please contact us at email@example.com if you are interested in taking part. On our homepage you can also subscribe to the Mind Meeting Mailing List.
The study of cognitive maps has been a central concern of psychology and neuroscience, stretching back to the dawn of the cognitive revolution. The importance of these mental maps is emphasized by the fact that they are believed to be used not just only for spatial navigation, but also for reasoning, inference, and memory in a wide range of knowledge domains. But, what is the nature of the cognitive map? In the classical view, spatial cognitive maps are Euclidean reference frames. However, extensive findings from cognitive psychology suggest that human spatial memories of real-world environments have a rich structure, including segments, schemas, hierarchies, and graph-like elements. In this talk, I will describe recent studies from my lab that use fMRI and behavioral testing to explore this structure. Specifically, I will discuss how the human brain segments spatial environments into parts, how it integrates these spatial parts into a larger whole, and how spatial representations vary across environments and individuals.