From individual cognitive maps to a collective cognitive map: prescriptive guidelines and measurement of factors that could distort the mapping process

Published in PsyArXiv, 2021

Recommended citation: Cheng, Y., & Chrastil, L. (2021, November 30). From Individual Cognitive Maps to a Collective Cognitive Map: Prescriptive Guidelines and Measurement of Factors that Could Distort the Mapping Process.

In the collective navigation scenario of a trio exploring in a foreign city, we propose a theoretical piece, which is a prescriptive guideline describing rational ways that can enable the trio to form a collective cognitive map. The guidelines center around three stages of exploration: the initial gathering of information, coming together to plan a route in the new city, and executing the exploration plan. Depending on the desires and goals of the group, they might explore together for some or all of the time, splitting up only when their individual goals diverge. The guidelines suggest an optimal plan for these different possibilities. We propose that a collective cognitive map is formed and improved during the entire cognitive navigation process as demonstrated by the trio drawing sketch maps, creating place maps, and revising other people’s place maps. However, multiple factors could distort the navigation process at various points in the proposed prescriptive guidelines. These factors include individual differences (e.g., personal navigation ability, navigation anxiety, and sex), group dynamics (e.g., leaders and followers, group strategies), and the impact of the environment (e.g., language, culture, safety, and spatiality). We describe a thought experiment for testing collective navigation, including the measurement of these factors and the corresponding possible distortions in the collective map caused by these factors. Finally, we discuss future research directions, including using virtual environments and commercial applications. By utilizing our model, people can be flexible in resolving conflicting information during goal planning while still navigating efficiently.

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