Sageo 2014

Conférenciers invités > Amy Louise Griffin

Titre de l'exposé

Emotional cartographies: understanding humans’ experiences with maps


Transparents de la présentation


Any cartographer will be able to name at least a few maps that really struck a chord with them when they first saw the map. Often this response is driven by something in the aesthetic qualities of the map as a physical artifact, rather than by the underlying data themselves. This response relates to how the reading the map makes its reader feel, and its reader may have a hard time describing specifically what about the map is evoking this response. But skillful cartographers are able to harvest the power of emotions to help tell the story they want to tell. While many early, hand-drawn maps were intended to persuade the reader to hold or oppose an opinion, by arousing either a positive or negative emotional response from its reader, the twentieth century ushered in a conception of maps as objective, neutral, affectless, scientific documents. Likewise, the study of how map readers use maps in the twentieth century had a focus on cognitive processes and objectively measurable behaviors, implying that the map reader’s thinking and decision making take place in an emotionless space. We are then ignoring an important aspect of our experience with maps, either as map makers or map users. Indeed, psychologists describe their study of the human experience as encompassing the ABC triad: affect (emotion), cognition and behavior.

I argue for the value of a deepened focus on emotion in cartography, both in terms of how maps can help us to understand the spatiality of emotion in the world, and how the study of emotional responses of map readers may influence how they use maps. In making this argument, I draw upon conceptualizations of emotion in other disciplines with links to cartography that may help us in this endeavor; psychology, art and graphic design, rhetoric and communication, affective computing, and film.

 Amy Louise Griffin is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences at UNSW Canberra in Australia. After completing her PhD in the GeoVISTA Center at Penn State University, she moved to Australia and established a lab whose research focuses on understanding perceptual and cognitive factors underpinning map use. Her recent areas of focus have been visualizing uncertainty in statistical estimates and the intersection of maps and emotion. Along with Sara Fabrikant, she is currently a co-chair of the ICA Commission on Cognitive Visualization and is the incoming Vice President of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS).

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