thinkspatial_logoThe UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents

Social Wayfinding

Daniel R. Montello, Professor of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara

12:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, 2016 | 3512 Phelps Hall (map)


ThinkSpatial, Montello_1Abstract. Wayfinding is the planning and reasoning involved in efficient navigation. It serves to figure out where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there. It invokes higher‐level cognitive systems including mental representations of the environment (cognitive maps). Wayfinding is not simply a solitary cognitive act or a matter of the surrounding physical environment. It involves other people— concurrently and in the past. This involvement is pervasive and fundamental, including people’s acts, their cultural and technological influences, even their mere presence. Although understanding social aspects are essential to understanding wayfinding, they are underrecognized and under‐researched. Detailed examples of social wayfinding in which others directly or indirectly influence the routes that navigators choose will be discussed. For greater understanding, examples have been organized within a framework of the degree, nature, and time frame of the social influence.

MontelloBio. Daniel R. Montello is Professor of Geography and Affiliated Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), where he has been on the faculty since 1992. His educational background is in environmental, cognitive, and developmental psychology. His research is in the areas of spatial, environmental, and geographic perception, cognition, affect, and behavior. Montello has authored ~100 articles and chapters, and co-authored or edited five books, including Space in Mind: Concepts for Spatial Learning and Education (2014, MIT Press) with Karl Grossner and Don Janelle. He currently co-edits the academic journal Spatial Cognition and Computation.

The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts.

Please contact Werner Kuhn (805-893-8224, to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial thinking.

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