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authors Tversky, Barbara
year 2001
title Multiple Mental Spaces
source J. S. Gero, B. Tversky and T. Purcell (eds), 2001, Visual and Spatial Reasoning in Design, II - Key Centre of Design Computing and Cognition, University of Sydney, Australia
summary Whenever we act, we act in space. Sometimes, the interactions are explicit,as we grasp the things around us or find our ways inside and out. Otherinteractions are implicit, an awareness of where we are, where the thingsaround us are. Still other spatial interactions are in imagination, when weestimate distances, or visualize how to arrange a room, or describe a journey.To act effectively in space, we rely on conceptions of space. We know aboutspace and the things in it from looking, from hearing, from touching, fromimagining, and from description. The knowledge obtained from thesedifferent sources is different; sometimes integrated and coherent, other times,not.The mental representations that we form of space from these real andimagined interactions differ from the external representations of spaces ofgeometry or of physics or of cartographic maps. For geometry, physics, andmaps, space is basic, metric, uniform, and unitary, and things are located in it.In human conceptions of space, the things in space are basic, and thequalitative spatial relations among them form a scaffolding. Which thingsand which spatial relations depend on the which space. We interact withmany spaces, the space of the body in eating or dancing, the space around thebody in basketball or soccer, the space of navigation in wayfinding orestimating distances. Each of these spaces is represented schematically, interms of the elements and spatial relations important to it.
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