Synergetics and cognitive maps

Juval Portugali*, Hermann Haken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Cognitive maps refer to very large spatial entities such as towns, cities and whole environments. Because of their size, such entities can never be fully seen in their entirety, and consequently one must construct their internal representation by means of non-visual information, such as texts, auditory or haptic information, inference and the like. Cognitive mapping issues do not fall into any single traditional cognitive field with the result that research is highly fragmented and without a generalized conceptual framework. This paper explores the possibility that Haken's theory of synergetics in conjunction with Portugali's holomovie approach to environmental cognition can provide a general conceptual framework to the study of the apparently complex issue of cognitive maps. The discussion is developed in three stages. The first examines the properties and versatility of cognitive mapping, the second introduces the various paradigms of synergetics and discusses their relevance, while the third suggests an outline for a generalized framework for environmental cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-130
Number of pages20
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1992


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