Cognitive neuroscience of spatial and geographic thinking

Victor R. Schinazi*, Tyler Thrash

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


This chapter provides an overview of research that uses neuroscientific techniques to investigate geographic phenomena. It deals with a discussion of positivism in behavioral geography and neuroscience. The chapter explains research focused on the neural correlates of navigation and spatial thinking. It presents evidence regarding the neural correlates involved in the acquisition and manipulation of spatial information during navigation. The chapter organizes the literature in terms of coexisting networks of brain regions that support scene-processing, path integration, place learning and goal-directed navigation, and response-based navigation. These regions include cells that are specialized for basic aspects of spatial information that are critical for navigation. Some researchers have argued that neuroimaging studies employing virtual reality may be neglecting the proprioceptive cues typically involved in real-world navigation. In order to orient within a larger environment, navigators need to know the direction they are facing in addition to their location. Schinazi and Epstein investigated the roles of the parahippocampal place area and the retrosplenial complex with respect to the acquisition of spatial knowledge during large-scale navigation
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Behavioral and Cognitive Geography
EditorsDaniel R. Montello
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781784717544
ISBN (Print)9781784717537
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


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