1 Sep

Geographical Review Preview: Cognitive Mapping as a Method to Assess Peoples’ Attachment to Place

By: Jeffrey Smith and Ricardo Aranha

What is the main purpose of your study? 

The purpose of this article is to showcase how peoples’ mental maps (perceptions) of a place can be used as a tool to reveal their emotional connection to that place.

A student’s mental map


What are the practical, day to day, implications of your study? 

Core of Aggieville

Scholars from a wide variety of disciplines and professions are trying to understand what helps people develop strong connections to a place.  This is important because individuals who feel connected to where they live, work, and play have a better quality of life.  Most research has employed opinion surveys, but this article helps expose a different approach.  This study actually gets inside peoples’ brains and teases out the details of what they are thinking.

Aggieville banners

How does your study relate to other work on the subject?

See above.







What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study? 

  1. The mental maps that people have of a place reveal so much detail about the importance of place.  Mental maps pinpoint what specific elements of place are important to people.
  2. The world around us can be incredibly complex and difficult to decipher.  This article, however, shows us how the complexity of the real world can be simplified and interpreted.

What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study? 

This research adds to our understanding of the theory of Place Attachment.

Map of Aggieville building age

How does your research help us think about Geography? 

Place, Place, Place.  Geography is about understanding the character and qualities of place and how people interact with place.  

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Click here to read the abstract of this article.