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Abstract

Investigating the Limits of Human Spatial Perception and Spatial Thinking

Antonis Theofilidis*, Philip Kargopoulos

Visual mental images play an important role in thinking, but there is no agreement among cognitive scientists as to what are the kinds of symbols that the mind processes. Does thought consist of mental representations in the form of conditionals of the predicate calculus, or do we form mental models of the outside world which bear an analogical relation to the real world?

Aim: The basic aim of the present study is to contribute to the ongoing work on mental representations by extending the research to an unexplored area in the Greek scene, that of mental partitioning. Our sample consisted of 344 participants. For the statistical processing we employed reliability analysis, descriptive analysis and ANOVA in order to investigate the differences between scores in spatial perception, and mental partitioning. We detected significant peculiarities in the cognitive performance of the participants in the tasks of mental partitioning, indicating certain limitations inherent in human thinking.

Conclusion: The conclusion was that the task of mental partitioning of mental representations of a simple yet novel real object rests on previous abstract propositional thought and knowledge rather than on concrete perceptual processes like the ones proposed by Kosslyn and Sheppard.