Familiarity and environmental representations of a city: A self-report study

L. Piccardi, M. Risetti, R. Nori

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"Sense of direction" is usually assessed by self-report. Several internal factors contribute to proficiency in navigation: spatial cognitive style, respondent's sex, and familiarity with the environment; however, questionnaires assessing sense of direction do not include all these factors. In a recent study, Nori and Piccardi reported that environmental familiarity was crucial for topographical orientation. Regardless of a person's spatial cognitive style (i.e., landmark, route, or survey), the greater their familiarity with the environment, the better their performance. In this study, a questionnaire was used, the Familiarity and Spatial Cognitive Style Scale, to measure 208 women's sense of direction and knowledge of their city of residence. Analysis showed that Spatial Cognitive Style predicted sense of direction but not town knowledge. By contrast, familiarity played a crucial role in both areas, confirming the importance of having a tool to assess this factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-326
Number of pages18
JournalPsychological Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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