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Sight Communities: The Social Significance of Shared Visual Landmarks

  • Wesley Bernardini (a1) and Matthew A. Peeples (a2)


Research in psychology has established that humans organize spatial information into “cognitive maps” oriented around visual landmarks. Much of this research focuses on individual cognitive processes such as orienteering and wayfinding. We extend this research to the level of social groups, exploring the degree to which cognitive maps are shared among near and distant neighbors and the social implications of common, overlapping, or discrete cognitive maps. We develop the concept of “sight communities” —populations which shared similar cognitive maps—and then propose methodologies to (1) identify visual anchors and quantify their visual prominence from different vantage points, and (2) detect and analyze connections among the populations which were able to see visual anchors, with a special focus on tools from social network analysis.


Investigatión en psicología ha establecido que los seres humanos organizan la información espacial en “mapas cognitivos” orientados con referenda a puntos visuales. Gran parte de tal investigatión se centra en individuates, los procesos cognitivos tales como orientatión y letreros de orientatión. En nuestra investigación, extendemos el concepto de mapas cognitivos al nivel de grupos sociales, a averiguar si los mapas cognitivos son compartidos entre los vecinos cercanos y lejanos y la importancia de los mapas cognitivos comunes, superpuestos, o discretas. Desarrollamos el concepto de “comunidades de vista” — las poblaciones que comparten mapas cognitivos similares—y luego proponemos metodologias para (1) identificar las anclas visuales y cuantificar su importancia visual desde distintos puntos de vista, y (2) detector y analizar las conexiones entre las poblaciones que eran capaces de ver anclas visuales, con enfoque especial en las herramientas de andlisis de redes sociales.



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Sight Communities: The Social Significance of Shared Visual Landmarks

  • Wesley Bernardini (a1) and Matthew A. Peeples (a2)


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