Site Network: Cognitive Systems | SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition | Fachbereich 03 | Universität Bremen

Spatial Cognition - WS 2015/16

Course 03-ME-711.03

Thomas Barkowsky

Winter 2015/16
Thursdays 16:00 - 18:00h, Cartesium 0.01
2 SWS (ECTS: 4)


A Introduction

1) 15 Oct 2015:

  • Introduction to Spatial Cognition & Distribution of topics for the presentations

B Spatial Representations

2) 22 Oct 2015:

  • Cognitive Representations (Palmer (1978))
3) 29 Oct 2015:
  • Analogical Representations (Sloman (1971, 1975))

C Mental Models

4) 05 Nov 2015:

  • Spatial Reasoning (Byrne & Johnson-Laird (1989))

5) 12 Nov 2015:

  • Preferred Mental Models (Ragni & Knauff (2013))

D Mental Images

6) 19 Nov 2015:

  • Spatial Processing in the Brain (Kosslyn 2005; Kosslyn et al., 2007)

7) 26 Nov 2015:

  • Computational Imagery (Glasgow & Papdias (1992))

8) 03 Dec 2015:

  • Attention-Based Quantification Theory (Sima 2011, Sima & Freksa 2012)

E Diagrams

9) 10 Dec 2015:

  • Problem-Solving with Diagrams (Funt (1980))

10) 17 Dec 2015:

  • CogSketch (Forbus et al. (2011))

F Cognitive Architectures

11) 14 Jan 2016:

  • Mechanisms for Human Spatial Competence (Gunzelmann & Lyon (2007))

12) 21 Jan 2016:

  • Casimir (Schultheis & Barkowsky (2011))
13) 28 Jan 2016:
  • DRS (Chandrasekaran et al. (2011))

G Wrap-Up

14) 04 Feb 2016:

  • Final discussion



  • Byrne, R. M. J. & Johnson-Laird, P. N. (1989). Spatial reasoning. Journal of Memory and Language, 28:564– 575.
  • Chandrasekaran, B., Banerjee, B., Kurup, U., & Lele, O. (2011). Augmenting cognitive architectures to support diagrammatic imagination. Topics in Cognitive Science, 3.
  • Forbus, K., Usher, J., Lovett, A., Lockwood, K., & Wetzel, J. (2011). CogSketch: Sketch understanding for cognitive science research and for education. Topics in Cognitive Science, 3:648-666.
  • Funt, B. V. (1980). Problem-solving with diagrammatic representations. Artificial Intelligence, 13.
  • Glasgow, J., & Papadias, D. (1992). Computational imagery. Cognitive Science, 16.
  • Gunzelmann, G. & Lyon, D. R. (2007). Mechanisms for human spatial competence. In T. Barkowsky, M. Knauff, G. Ligozat, and D. R. Montello, editors, Spatial Cognition V - Reasoning, Action, Interaction, pages 288– 307. Springer, Berlin.
  • Kosslyn, S. M. (2005). Mental images and the brain. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 22(3-4):333–347.
  • Kosslyn, S. M., Shephard, J. M., & Thompson, W. L. (2007). Spatial processing during mental imagery: a neurofunctional theory. In F. Mast and L. Jancke (Eds), Spatial Processing in Navigation, Imagery, and Perception. New York: Springer. pp 1-16.
  • Palmer, S. (1978). Fundamental aspects of cognitive representation. In E. Rosch & B. Lloyd (Eds.) Cognition and Categorization, Hillsdale, NJ: LEA.
  • Ragni, M. & Knauff, M. (2013). A theory and a computational model of spatial reasoning with preferred mental models. Psychological Review, 120(3):561–588.
  • Schultheis, H., & Barkowsky, T. (2011). Casimir: An architecture for mental spatial knowledge processing. Topics in Cognitive Science, 3.
  • Sima, J. F. (2011). The nature of mental images – An integrative computational theory. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, and T. Shipley, editors, Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, pages 2878–2883. Cognitive Science Society, Austin, TX.
  • Sima, J. F. & Freksa, C. (2012). Towards computational cognitive modeling of mental imagery. Künstliche Intelligenz, 26(3):261–267.
  • Sloman, A. (1971). Interactions between philosophy and artificial intelligence. Artificial Intelligence, 2.
  • Sloman, A. (1975). Afterthoughts on analogical representations. In B. L. Nash-Webber & R. Schank (Eds.), Proc. theoretical issues in natural language processing. Cambridge, MA: Association for Computer Linguistics.

Course Credit

Here are a few notes on grading and other formal aspects of the course. To receive credits for the course you will need to actively and continually participate throughout the semester; this includes:

  • to read all papers,
  • to prepare 2 questions regarding each topic (based on the reading material for this topic)
  • to present at least one topic
  • to write a term paper on the topic you presented during the course. Here is a template for the term paper.

Questions for each topic have to be submitted by email to by the Wednesdays preceding the day when the corresponding topic is presented and discussed. Questions will be graded according to quality. For example, questions only asking for key terms (explained) in the reading material of the topic (e.g., "What is Spatial Cognition?") will receive no credit. Questions should rather address conceptual issues arising from the text such as, for instance, regarding seeming contradictions or feasibility issues. Presentations should be well-prepared, well-informed, and above all serve to help your classmates learn about and understand the facts and issues connected with your topic and it should enable them to enter into a qualified discussion about it. Ideally, plan on a 30 - 45 min duration for your presentation and a subsequent in-depth discussions (which you will also moderate). Presentations will be graded and will account for 40% of your overall grade. Performance on questions and the term paper will account for 20% and 40% of your overall grade, respectively.

Please email your term paper to Term papers have to be submitted by 28 February 2016 the latest. Any form of plagiarism or failure to submit the term paper by the specified date will result in automatic failure of the course.