Cognitive map formation supported by auditory, haptic, and multimodal information in persons with blindness

Loes Ottink*, Hendrik Buimer, Bram van Raalte, Christian F. Doeller, Thea M. van der Geest, Richard J.A. van Wezel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


For efficient navigation, the brain needs to adequately represent the environment in a cognitive map. In this review, we sought to give an overview of literature about cognitive map formation based on non-visual modalities in persons with blindness (PWBs) and sighted persons. The review is focused on the auditory and haptic modalities, including research that combines multiple modalities and real-world navigation. Furthermore, we addressed implications of route and survey representations. Taking together, PWBs as well as sighted persons can build up cognitive maps based on non-visual modalities, although the accuracy sometime somewhat differs between PWBs and sighted persons. We provide some speculations on how to deploy information from different modalities to support cognitive map formation. Furthermore, PWBs and sighted persons seem to be able to construct route as well as survey representations. PWBs can experience difficulties building up a survey representation, but this is not always the case, and research suggests that they can acquire this ability with sufficient spatial information or training. We discuss possible explanations of these inconsistencies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104797
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Auditory
  • Cognitive maps
  • Haptic
  • Multimodal
  • Non-visual sensory modalities
  • Persons with blindness
  • Route representation
  • Spatial navigation
  • Survey representation
  • Tactile
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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