Cognitive Processing

, Volume 16, Supplement 1, pp 437–441 | Cite as

Configurational salience of landmarks: an analysis of sketch maps using Space Syntax

Short Report


We conducted a visibility graph analysis (a Space Syntax method) of a virtual environment to examine how the configurational salience of global and local landmarks (i.e., their relative positions in the environment) as compared to their visual salience affects the probability of their depiction on sketch maps. Participants of two experimental conditions produced sketch maps from memory after exploration with a layout map or without a map, respectively. Participants of a third condition produced sketch maps in parallel to exploration. More detailed sketch maps were produced in the third condition, but landmarks with higher configurational salience were depicted more frequently across all experimental conditions. Whereas the inclusion of global landmarks onto sketch maps was best predicted by their size, both visual salience and isovist size (i.e., the area a landmark was visible from) predicted the frequency of depiction for local landmarks. Our findings imply that people determine the relevance of landmarks not only by their visual, but even more by their configurational salience.


Landmark Landmark salience Sketch map Space Syntax 


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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Cognitive ScienceUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl für BildungspsychologieUniversität MannheimMannheimGermany

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