Workshops offered by Professor Peterson

Geography Standards 2: Mental Maps

A. Acquisition

1. Direct - Walking through environment

2. Indirect - Using Maps

B. Importance

1. Wayfinding

2. Method of organizing / storing information

3. Making sense of the world / providing sense of place

4. Continual development

C. Mental Aspects

1. Stroop Effect

2. Right Brain / Left Brain Differences

3. Split Brain Observations

a. Roger Sperry

b. two sides of brain severed to control servere forms of epilepsy

c. subtle but important differences noted between right and left senses

4. Status of Mental Images in Cognitive Psychology

a. Do they exist?

b. How do they function?

c. Results of research.

5. Individual Differences

a. male / female

b. influence of culture

D. Methods of Forming Mental Maps

1. Passive (Indirect)

a. present maps in lectures

b. use atlas, books with maps

c. television (weather channel), newspapers


2. Active

a. draw mental maps by hand; compare to actual; then draw again

b. draw mental maps by hand; identify errors with map

ability to identify errors on a drawn mental map indicates that people can't externalize mental maps well

c. draw maps to depict locations or statistical data

d. folding map exercise for continents

e. assignments with atlases

f. map reading for wayfinding (make child the navigator)

3. Computer (interactive)

a. computer games

1. zip, zap, map

2. Carmen Sandiego

b. electronic atlases

c. trip planning software

d. web surfing;;

E. Conclusion

1. By concentrating on 3 R's, education has neglected the right side of brain.

2. The mental map needs to be seen as an important part of education, particularly useful in geographic education.

3. There may be individual differences in mental mapping / imagery. These differences may be overcome through more education, or not.

4. Active / interactive methods seem to be the best in acquiring mental maps.

5. Many maps are distributed through the web. This can be a good source of acquiring mental maps.

Contact | ©2004 Michael Peterson