PSYE405 Spatial Cognition and Communication


This course introduces the main topics in the area of spatial cognition and communication, theoretical frameworks, and methodological approaches, fir example, spatial frames of reference, wayfinding, spatial perspectives, etc. The relationship between language and cognition is discussed as well.

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Psychology (in English)


Assoc. Prof. Elena Andonova, Ph.D

Course Description:


Students will learn

• Main topics and theoretical approaches to spatial communication and cognition

• Research methods and specific recent examples of research in the field

Students will be able to

• Read and summarize research papers in this thematic area

• Design and conduct a student research project in the area

English language proficiency. Experimental design, Experimental psychology, Introduction to Cognitive Science.

Full-time Programmes

Types of Courses:

Language of teaching:




• Carlson-Radvansky, L. A. & Radvansky, G. A. (1996). The influence of functional relations on spatial term selection. Psychological Science, 7, 56-60.

• Coventry, K.R. & Garrod, S. (2004). Saying, seeing, and acting: The psychological semantics of spatial prepositions. (excerpts)

• Majid et al. (2004). Can language restructure cognition? The case for space. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8 (3), 108-114.

• Taylor & Tversky (1996). Perspective in spatial descriptions. Journal of Memory and Language, 35, 371-391.

• Brunye et al. (2009). When you and I share perspectives. Psychological Science. 20(1):27-32.

• Wolbers, T. & Hegarty, M. (2010). What determines our navigational abilities? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14 (3), 138-46.

• Levine, S.C., Vasilyeva, M., Lourenco, S.F., Newcombe, N.S., & Huttenlocher J. (2005). Socioeconomic status modifies the sex difference in spatial skill. Psychological Science, 16(11), 841-5.

• Ratliff, K. R., & Newcombe, N. S. (2008). Reorienting when cues conflict: Evidence for an adaptive combination view. Psychological Science, 19, 1301–1307.

• Carlson, L., Holscher, C., Shipley, T., & Dalton, R.C. (2010) Getting lost in buildings. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19(5), 284-289.

• Schober, Michael F. 2009. Spatial Dialogue between Partners with Mismatched Abilities. In K. Coventry, T. Tenbrink, & J. Bateman (eds.), Spatial Language and Dialogue (pp. 23-39). Oxford University Press.

• Maddox, K., Rapp, D. N., Brion, S. & Taylor, H. A. (2008). Social influences on spatial memory. Memory & Cognition, 36(3), 479-494.

• Newcombe, N.S. (2010). Picture This: Increasing Math and Science Learning by Improving Spatial Thinking. American Educator, 34 (2), 29-35.


• Carlson, L. A. & van Deman, S. (2008). Inhibition within a reference frame during the interpretation of spatial language. Cognition, 106, 384-407.

• Pazzaglia & Meneghetti (2010). Individual Differences in Spatial Language and Way-Finding: The Role of Cognition, Emotion and Motivation. Spatial Cognition conference,

• Spelke, E., , S.A., Lee, Izard, V. (2010). Beyond Core Knowledge: Natural Geometry. Cognitive Science, 1–22.

• Lee, S.A., & Spelke, E. (2010). A modular geometric mechanism for reorientation in children. Cognitive Psychology, 61, 2, 152-176.

• Twyman, A.D., Newcombe, N.S. (2010). Five Reasons to Doubt the Existence of a Geometric Module. Cognitive Science, 34, 1315–1356.

• Ratliff, K. R., & Newcombe, N. S. (2008). Reorienting when cues conflict: Evidence for an adaptive combination view. Psychological Science, 19, 1301–1307.

• Radvansky, G.A, Copeland, D.E, Zwaan, R.A. (2003). Aging and functional spatial relations in comprehension and memory. Psychology and Aging. 18(1):161-5.

• Newcombe, N. S., Uttal, D. H. & Sauter, M. (in press). Spatial Development. In P. Zelazo (Ed)., Oxford handbook of developmental psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.



Practical assignments.

Oral presentation.