Where Are We? Mental Maps and How We Perceive Space
Which island do you think is bigger? Sumatra or Great Britain? The average person on our continent would say Great Britain because it’s a more familiar country to us. But Sumatra, in fact, is more than twice the size of Great Britain! In this seminar, we will look at how we create mental images of locations and the distances between them. We’ll start by discussing the images we have of familiar places, such as our bedroom or our home town, and move to the less familiar—the college campus, New York City, and beyond. On the one hand, what factors create misinformation and confusion about certain spaces, and barriers to the flow of information and knowledge about these spaces? On the other hand, what makes us engage in certain places; and how accurately do we know them? We’ll look at the impact of transportation, the Internet, GPS, and prevailing socioeconomic conditions, and discuss how globalization and changing economic circumstances have significantly affected global perception.