Social spatial cognition

Alex Dorfman, Omri Weiss, Zohar Hagbi, Anat Levi, David Eilam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Social spatial cognition refers to the interaction between self, place, and partners, with emphasis on the impact of the social environment on spatial behavior and on how individual spatial representations converge to form collective spatial behavior - i.e., common places and routes. Recent studies suggest that in addition to their mental representation (cognitive map) of the physical environment, humans and other animals also have a social cognitive map. We suggest that while social spatial cognition relies on knowledge of both the physical and the social environments, it is the latter hat predominates. This dominance is illustrated here in the modulation of spatial behavior according to dynamic social interactions, ranging from group formation to an attenuation of drug-induced stereotypy through the mere presence of a normal subject. Consequently we suggest that the numerous studies on the biobehavioral controlling mechanisms of spatial behavior (i.e. - the hippocampal formation, animal models for mental disorders) should also consider the social environment rather than solely focusing on the spatial behavior of lone animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-290
Number of pages14
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Affective spatial behavior
  • Exploration
  • Social cognitive map
  • Social distance
  • Spatial cognition
  • Spatial representation


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