Spatial and Map Cognition
Research Lab

Who We Are

The Spatial and Map Cognition Research Lab.

What We Do

We study map use, navigation, and spatial thinking primarily. We use multiple measurement tools, including traditional laboratory and in-field behavioral methods as well as fMRI and eye-tracking. 

Where We Do It

SMCRL is a part of the Department of Geography at the University of Oregon - Eugene.

Welcome to the Spatial and Map Cognition Research Laboratory


The Spatial and Map Cognition Research Laboratory is housed in the Department of Geography at the University of Oregon. We are a research laboratory composed of students and faculty, under the direction of Dr. Amy Lobben. We engage in inter- and cross-disciplinary research in areas such as:

  • behavioral and neurological correlates of map use and navigation
  • spatial data acquisition and use
  • spatial thinking
  • human-environmental interaction
  • experimental design
  • fMRI - functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • spatial and map task measurement
  • navigation
  • fMRI as a behavioral geography testing method
  • instrument assessment
  • tactile maps and mapping
  • visual search and visual variables
  • spatial memory
  • mental mapping
  • route planning
  • map 'phobia'

Please direct questions or inquiries to Amy Lobben, lobben at

Research funding for various lab projects has been provided by:

  • National Eye Institute - National Institutes of Health
  • National Science Foundation - BCS-GRS
  • National Science Foundation - HRD-RDE
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse - National Institutes of Health
  • Department of Radiology - Michigan State University
  • Lewis Center for Neuro Imaging - University of Oregon

Please visit faculty and student project sections for more information on specific projects

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.