RC4 The right words to find the right route: interactions between spatial perception and language


Did you ever wonder why some locations are unforgettable, even if you haven’t been
there for ages, but on the other hand you keep taking the wrong turn whenever you
drive to your in-laws?
In this rainbow course, I will provide an overview about two fundamental cognitive
domains, namely language and spatial cognition. Can words influence perception and
behavior in the same way as landmarks – are there words that get you on the right
track, even if your assumptions about the environment are wrong?
I tested different linguistic influences (Schick, Halfmann & Mallot, 2015). In a follow-up,
the effect of sleep on the consolidation of hierarchical memory structures were tested:
will it be easier to find this lecture hall if you go to be early on the previous night? I will
discuss the conclusions about the organization of semantic memory, which can be
derived from this, and name environmental features that may get you on the right track
– no matter where you want to go!


1. Hierarchical cognitive processes
2. Hierarchies in language and experimental investigations
3. Implications for spatial cognition and spatial memory


Noack, H., Born, J., Schick, W., Mallot, H.A. (2017). Sleep enhances knowledge of routes and regions
in spatial environments. Accepted for publication in Learning and Memory (2016/043984).
Schick, W.; Halfmann, M. & Mallot, H.A. (2015). How to construct a linguistic landmark: language cues
in the formation of hierarchical representations of space. Cognitive processing 16 (Supp.1), 383-8.
Schick W, Halfmann M, Hardiess G, Mallot HA (2014): Language cues in the formation of hierarchical
representation of space. KogWis12: S63-64.
Wiener, J. M., & Mallot, H. A. (2003). 'Fine-to-coarse'route planning and navigation in regionalized
environments. Spatial cognition and computation, 3(4), 331-358.

Course location

Lecture Room 2

Course requirements


Instructor information.


Wiebke Schick