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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter on wayfinding and spatial cognition provides a literature review of the major topics in the field beginning with Tolman and Lynch, as well as directions for new research employing advances in technology. Reflecting the major emphasis in the field, the focus is on research in the built environment. The major areas of study include the development of wayfinding expertise in children and adults (specifically the progression from landmarks to route to configurational knowledge) and in those with cognitive and/or visual impairments; the problem of verisimilitude in wayfinding tasks; the areas of brain function underlying wayfinding behavior, specifically the role of the hippocampus; the extent of gender differences in wayfinding, including mental rotation, pointing accuracy, and use of landmarks and cardinal directions; and the role of software and technologies employed in research on wayfinding, from Space Syntax analysis to virtual reality with head-mounted devices (HMD). As an integrative strategy for the chapter, attention is periodically drawn to the shifting balance between theory and application in the research.

Keywords: allocentric, cognitive map, egocentric, gender differences, simulation, spatial cognition, virtual reality, wayfinding

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