[Week 4_Map As Media] Class Exercise – Cognitive Map

In Map As Media class of week 4, cognitive mapping, we practiced quickly how to create a cognitive map. “Cognitive Mapping” is a more about subjective mental representations of map-making.

A cognitive map (sometimes called a mental map or mental model) is a type of mental representation which serves an individual to acquire, code, store, recall, and decode information about the relative locations and attributes of phenomena in their everyday or metaphorical spatial environment. The concept was introduced by Edward Tolman in 1948. The term was later generalized by some researchers, especially in the field of operations research, to refer to a kind of semantic network representing an individual’s personal knowledge or schemas. (From Wikipedia)


Our group members’ majors varied as Urban Studies, Media Studies and Design and Technology(me). So our perception of the school building was different from each other. So we decided to map out how we experience the school building differently, and how the elevator system affects the way of experiencing the building. I sketched out a map through my perception toward school elevator system.



Some critical thoughts when drawing this map.

  • Each size of floors is different based upon uses and importance in our group members’ cognition.
  • Express elevators are only available to access to specific floors. It shapes our way to experience the school building.



The final map sketch is a bit crude, but it was a good exercise to know the key value of cognitive mapping. It’s a map that is shaped and visualized from our cognition, perception, and mental process as well as an Interesting thought process and a tool for critical thinking, and further, critical cartography.









Author: Jiyeon Kang (Jenny)

MFA Student of Design and Technology at Parsons School of Design dreamealist@gmail.com

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