Typology of models and comparative study of methods in recording mental images and cognitive maps from the environment

Document Type : Research Article



There are many studies on citizens’ subjective perceptions. What these studies have in common is the notion of "mental image" which is something intangible and intangible. Images, the result of the interaction between humans and the environment includes a person’s mental awareness of their environment. Cognitive maps and mental images is an important issue in the fields of urban design and urban contemporary. And, more recently, has become one of the important issues in architecture. Mental images and cognitive maps are considered as kinds of tool to achieve internal representation of the environment. Eligible, manipulated and even empty mental images and cognitive maps in urban landscape makes the formation of landscape which could be defined as any parts of environment that is limited to knowledge and conscious of place, a problematic issue. Although mental maps, also called cognitive maps, are a centerpiece of geographic research, they are perhaps most widely associated with Kevin Lynch, an architect and planner. Mental maps are cartographic representations of how people differ in their evaluation of places. Our mental maps become more complex over time when we incorporate information derived from indirect as well as direct experience. In addition to the personal experience the mental map is influenced by the reputation of the area in general. A variety of methods and techniques have been derived and experienced in recent decades. Several methods have been used in cognitive mapping to elicit the organized representations of a given environment. These include the direct-mapping procedure adopted by Lynch and others, construction of preference maps and the use of questionnaires in more sophisticated statistical procedures multidimensional scaling procedures and computer scanning techniques. The direct-mapping technique is marked by attempts on the part of the individual to create a map of an environment as mental image. It is thus distinguished from other methods involving maps constructed on the basis of information provided by respondents and drawn indirectly by the investigator.This diversity makes comparative study of methods of extracting images a necessary work and makes such work essential in investigating and comprehensive understanding of their strengths and weaknesses in particular represents. In this study, by using a combination of strategies, such as qualitative strategy and classification of data new typology has been derived from many sources of data. Literature review and analysis of relevant aspects of the transfer and an attempt has been fully studied yet concisely and is mentioned. The hypothesis is based on the similarities and differences between methods that can be extracted from cognitive maps as a way to classify images which enables building theoretical model or models. Finally, explained the model to provide a comprehensive representation of the environment. This model emphasizes on the strengths and weaknesses of the grounds that will be reduced. Finally, the results of the analysis and evaluation are evolving in interpretive approach. The results of this study showed that different species of concepts in the field of mental - Conceptual maps could be recognizable which could be divided in to two categories; "Topological representation" and "conceptual representations". The methodology for obtaining images and cognitive maps are indivisible in two categories; first "Design - drawing models (reproductive)" and "recognition-assessment models - (non-reproductive)".  Analyzing the methods of representing mental maps in general led to a comprehensive model for the representation of landscape and urban environment which in terms of the methodology consists of "mental maps" and "conceptual maps". Extraction of cognitive maps in order to achieve "the common cognitive map" of the represented environment is dealing with some weakness. First of all is "weakness of simplification process" which removes the elements of graphic quality and its details as a result. And other is "weak graphics system" which is limited to the five elements of Lynch and the two scale of measurement in definition. In general, this visual system for representation of the natural factors in urban landscape and the quality of the drawing could not be extended. In this sense, the research on the urban landscape requires its own graphical language definition. Finally, "the impossibility of comparing results in different ways", especially because of the nature and methodology of the evaluation procedures and graphics that only can be used in parallel. The use of new technology tools such as global communication networks (Internet and media) and computer software and simulation, and as in the near future as the primary tool and then take shape as a new way. Today, there exists traces of it in the visible public preference studies. However, these studies indicate that these tools and methods are not used in research.