Buildings, Memory and Wayfinding

Jan 01, 1990

This paper explores the role of generic knowledge in environmental cognition and wayfinding. Whereas most research has focused on the development of specific information about a city or building, people are able to use a general understanding about buildings, or about types of buildings, to find their way. Schema-theory in cognitive psychology and frame-theory in artificial intelligence provide suggestions about how general building-know/edge may be structured. Previous research and several small studies suggest that people's schemas include at two kinds of knowledge: 1) declarative knowledge about elements that are typically in a building or building component, topological relationships and local geometric relationships; and 2) procedural know/edge about what to do in the situation, which may be rule-like or more prescribed "scripts." A preliminary computational approach to environmental cognition is described.

Mark D. Gross (Design Technology Research)
Craig Zimring (Georgia Institute of Technology)
EDRA21/1990 Proceedings
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Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA)

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