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Book Chapter

Spatial thinking in the geosciences and cognitive sciences: A cross-disciplinary look at the intersection of the two fields

By
Kim A. Kastens>
Kim A. Kastens>
1
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, Palisades, New York 10964, USA
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Toru Ishikawa
Toru Ishikawa
2
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York 10964, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2006

Learning geoscience and becoming a professional geoscientist require high-level spatial thinking. Thus, geoscience offers an intriguing context for studying people's mental representations and processes as they pertain to large-scale, three-dimensional spatial cognition and learning, from both cognitive science and geoscience perspectives. This paper discusses major tasks that professional geoscientists and geoscience learners deal with, focusing on the spatial nature of the tasks and underlying cognitive processes. The specific tasks include recognizing, describing, and classifying the shape of an object; describing the position and orientation of objects; making and using maps; envisioning processes in three dimensions; and using spatial-thinking strategies to think about nonspatial phenomena. Findings and implications from cognitive science literature that could be incorporated into geoscience teaching and some questions for future research are also discussed.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Earth and Mind: How Geologists Think and Learn about the Earth

Cathryn A. Manduca
Cathryn A. Manduca
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David W. Mogk
David W. Mogk
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Geological Society of America
Volume
413
ISBN print:
9780813724133
Publication date:
January 01, 2006

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