Determinants of cognitive maps of the world as expressed in sketch maps
AdvisorIttelson, William H.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractCognitive representations of the world have been typically studied by means of either qualitative approaches or bivariate association. The sketch map technique and other strategies of data collection have been used in the past, in many instances applied to reduced sets of world nations. In the present study sketch maps of the world drawn by Brazilian university students were examined in terms of frequency of inclusion of nations to verify the combined influence of potential determinants of that inclusion. A graphical procedure was devised to differentiate shared and parochial views of the world and to simultaneously indicate possible predictive variables. The quantitative analysis of the effects of world countries' characteristics upon the inclusion of nations on the sketch maps was proposed as an additional step for a better understanding of the complex process of formation of cognitive representations of the world. Map features and other characteristics of world countries were analyzed and selected by correlational techniques, including exploratory factor analysis, to be part of multiple regression models used to account for the inclusions of nations. The exploratory regression analyses were performed on a random half of the Brazilian sample of students, according to a combined use of hierarchical analysis, based on classes of causal precedence of the independent variables, and stepwise selection within those classes. The final multiple regression equations accounted for approximately 75 percent of the variance of the dependent variable. A cross-validation procedure was then accomplished, which confirmed the results of the exploratory phase. The main influences upon the inclusion of nations by the Brazilian students were exerted by world indicators of geopolitical, military and economic power, as represented by the strategy board game "WARII" and citations of nations on a Brazilian newspaper. The second group in importance was formed by structural characteristics of the countries, such as their size and map positioning. Cultural aspects of world countries, including the involvement of the country in soccer, presented the smallest effect.
Degree ProgramGraduate College