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Behavioral Geography

  • By: Sandra Metoyer
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Human spatial behavior is not always obviously rational or efficient. Geographers interested in understanding spatial choice realized that spatial behavior could not be described using solely aggregated data with broad assumptions of rationalism and maximum efficiency. Confronting these limitations, behavioral geography evolved as a theoretical framework and methodological approach for investigating spatial behavior.

Behavioral geography is the study of human perceptions, cognition (e.g., internal mental process such as recognition and recall), and contextual interpretations of space, and ultimately choice as it relates to spatial decisions and spatial problem solving. Emphasis is on individuals as the unit of study paired with human-environment interaction assumptions inherent in constructivist philosophy. The primary objective remains true to its analytical ancestor of traditional location analysis, that is, a search for explanation ...

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