Publications & Resources

Cognitive Processes Functional in Spatial Recall

Dec 1982

Steven H. Shaha

Little is known about the precise nature of the processing, storage, and recall strategies functional in spatial recall. High school and college samples completed tasks in field-dependence-independence, figural creativity, and verbal abilities. Spatial recall ability was assessed through a map reconstruction tasks in which subjects were required to accurately reproduce the spatial location of features they recalled from a learned map stimulus. Results showed that field-dependence-independence and figural creativity were significant determinants of spatial recall for both samples. Verbal ability was a significant factor only for the less verbal, more heterogeneous high school sample. The data support a model of cognitive processing in which effective recall of spatial attributes is dictated by subjects’ abilities to treat spatial arrays as part-whole relations: Individual entities must be considered as separable from the whole map context. The results are discussed in conjunction with accepted theories of human memory and spatial cognition.

Shaha, S. H. (1982). Cognitive processes functional in spatial recall (CSE Report 193). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, Center for the Study of Evaluation.