Most of us tend to associate mind mapping with creative doodling. Bubble connected to bubble with a line that connects our thoughts. However, the almost similar, scientific term, cognitive mapping, is used to describe how we develop mental representations of places and how these maps help us store the spatial memory. When we try to find our way in an airport, we are likely to use former visits to similar places. Imagine what it would be like to find your way in a complicated terminal, had you never been at a station or in an international airport before? The thing is, we all restore orientation and structures, layer upon layer, in our minds, only to retrieve them – most likely on a subconscious level – in the process of finding our bearings in a new place. Our cognitive maps become our guidelines, they help us make foreign spaces more predictable and make our process of getting from A to B much easier, because we don’t have to rely on external aid entirely. Cognitive mapping is the perfect intuitive tool for orientation.
The photo is from the very interesting article “Going Mental: Everyday Travel and the Cognitive Map”, which you can find here