Functional Significance of Visuospatial Representations



150-200 Mental spaces are not unitary. Rather, people conceive of different spaces differently, depending on the functions they serve. Four such spaces are considered here. The space of the body subserves proprioception and action; it is divided by body parts, with perceptually salient and functionally significant parts more accessible than others. The space around the body subserves immediate perception and action; it is conceived of in three dimensions in terms of relations of objects to the six sides of the body, front/back, head/feet, left/right. The space of navigation subserves that; it is constructed in memory from multi-modal pieces, typically as a plane. The reconstruction generates systematic errors. The space of external representations, of pictures, maps, charts, and diagrams, serves as cognitive aids to memory and information processing To serve those ends, graphics schematize and may distort information.