The Cognitive Map: Could It Have Been Any Other Way?
Could the human cognitive map, with all of its peculiarities, be structured in any other way and still perform the useful functions it does? We can perform a thought-experiment by imagining that we must design the cognitive map for a robot, operating under limited cognitive resources, which must assimilate and use knowledge about its large-scale environment acquired from observations during travel. By taking this design perspective, we can determine that some familiar proposals for the structure of the cognitive map are inadequate, by themselves, to meet the constraints of the task. We develop a design consisting of separate representations for relative-position information, topological connections, and knowledge of routes, each rich in states of partial knowledge. Each step of the derivation is motivated by the pragmatic needs of the task, and the result bears a strong resemblance to the human cognitive map. We also discuss the relationship between this type of argument from design and the more usual approach of psychological explanation.
KeywordsSensory Image Spatial Knowledge Topological Relation Partial Knowledge Metrical Relation
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Beck, R., & Wood, D. Comparative developmental analysis of individual and aggregated cognitive maps of London. In G. T. Moore & R. G. Golledge (Eds.), Environmental knowing: Theories, research, and methods. Strouds-burg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, 1976.Google Scholar
- Kuipers, B. J. On representing commonsense knowledge. In N. V. Findler (Ed.), Associative networks: The representation of use of knowledge by computers. New York: Academic Press, 1979. (a)Google Scholar
- Kuipers, B. J. Commonsensense knowledge of space: Learning from experience. Proceedings of the Sixth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence. Stanford, CA: Stanford Computer Science Department, 1979. (b)Google Scholar
- Lynch, K. The image of the city. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1960.Google Scholar
- McDermott, D. V. Spatial inferences with ground, metric formulas on simple objects. (Department of Computer Science Research Report 173). Unpublished manuscript, Yale University, 1980.Google Scholar
- Merriam, E. W. “ROBOT” Computer Program Solving System. Cambridge, MA: Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. Report No. 3516. January 18, 1977.Google Scholar