NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ991366
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Representing Spatial Structure through Maps and Language: Lord of the Rings Encodes the Spatial Structure of Middle Earth
Louwerse, Max M.; Benesh, Nick
Cognitive Science, v36 n8 p1556-1569 Nov-Dec 2012
Spatial mental representations can be derived from linguistic and non-linguistic sources of information. This study tested whether these representations could be formed from statistical linguistic frequencies of city names, and to what extent participants differed in their performance when they estimated spatial locations from language or maps. In a computational linguistic study, we demonstrated that co-occurrences of cities in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Hobbit" predicted the authentic longitude and latitude of those cities in Middle Earth. In a human study, we showed that human spatial estimates of the location of cities were very similar regardless of whether participants read Tolkien's texts or memorized a map of Middle Earth. However, text-based location estimates obtained from statistical linguistic frequencies better predicted the human text-based estimates than the human map-based estimates. These findings suggest that language encodes spatial structure of cities, and that human cognitive map representations can come from implicit statistical linguistic patterns, from explicit non-linguistic perceptual information, or from both. (Contains 1 table, 2 figures, and 2 notes.)
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee