Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Cognitive Map

  • Ken Cheng
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_899-1

The notion of cognitive map has a more general meaning as a metaphor for relations in the experiences of life and a more specific meaning in terms of cognition of relations among spatial attributes. The general term was made famous by the American learning theorist Edward Tolman (1886–1959), who formulated the term cognitive map to mean cognition of relational aspects of experience (Tolman 1948). This term has seen a revival in the last decade, as a region of the brain intimately connected with spatial cognition, the hippocampus, was found to code another fundamental dimension of experience, that of time. The spatial meaning of the term cognitive map received a boost with the discovery of neurons in the hippocampus of rats that fire the most when the rat was at a particular place in its environment, an arena in a lab. This discovery of what are called place cellsis attributed to behavioral neuroscientist John O’Keefe. The spatial notion, discussed most in rats, humans, and honeybees,...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Lauren Guillette
    • 1
  1. 1.University of St. AndrewsSt. AndrewsUK